Thursday, January 9, 2020

Pork Chops in Lemon Caper Sauce and Oven-Baked Polenta

While the calendar says the days are getting shorter, it’s still a long way until warm weather and eating dinner on the patio. With several months ahead of us when the threat of snow is in the air (and on the ground), comfort food sometimes is just the right thing. This dish, which I found in the New York Times, but is originally from Toni Tipton-Martin’s  “Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking,” fits the bill perfectly for one of those stay-in types of days when the fire is roaring and that bottle of pinot noir pleads to be opened.

I accompanied it with polenta to sop up all that sauce (by the way, the recipe calls for four pork chops but I cooked just two and made the full sauce recipe). I’ve made polenta many times, both the old-fashioned way, stirring for 45 minutes and in the slow cooker. One of my cousins in Italy told me she makes it in the oven, where it practically requires no tending, so I thought I’d give it a try. It really works! And it was soft and creamy, just as I like it.

Broccoli Romano  — one of my favorite vegetables — was available in my supermarket, so I served that alongside the meat and polenta. I’m getting hungry again just looking at the pictures. I hope you give this a try.

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Pork Chops in Lemon Caper Sauce and Oven-Baked Polenta
Author: Ciao Chow Linda
  • 4 bone-in pork chops (about 8 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 very small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium, if store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • Hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal (I use Anson Mills)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Dry the chops with paper towels, and season aggressively with salt, pepper and the thyme. Swirl the olive oil into a large skillet, and heat over medium until the oil begins to shimmer. Add chops, and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Drain the fat from the skillet, then melt 2 tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat until sizzling. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until the aromatics soften, reducing the heat if necessary, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the wine and chicken stock, raise heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice and hot sauce to taste (if you’re using it), and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s melted and the sauce looks smooth. Nestle the pork chops into the sauce, and allow them to warm up for a couple of minutes, then serve, pouring sauce over each pork chop to taste. Garnish with more fresh parsley.
  5. Add the cornmeal, water and milk and salt to a saucepan and whisk together. Place in a 350 degree oven uncovered, for one hour, stirring once every twenty minutes. If the polenta isn’t thick enough after one hour, leave it in for another twenty minutes and test again. Remove from oven, add the butter and parmesan cheese and serve.



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