Food & Travel

Like a Pig in...

For a while, I swore off thick-cut pork chops. I tried searing and finishing in the oven and reverse-sear but the result was oddly always the same - first bite was great and then the meat seized-up. I tried sous-vide and then searing (great for pork tenderloin) but the meat was too mushy. By the way, I’m not a fan of brining pork chops. It produces moist meat but waters down the flavor.

I started making only the thin-cut chops but sometimes you just want the bruisers. Then I discovered a technique I am loving. Season heritage breed chops with S&P (don’t neglect the fat cap) then sear in oil in medium heat pan until browning begins. Flip and do the same. Keep flipping every minute (occasionally include the fat cap) until just below desired temp - about 125° For me. Remove the chops and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pour off most of the oil and keep pan warm over low heat. Add a tbsp of butter (per 2 chops), 2 smashed garlic cloves and a handful of roughly torn sage leaves. Return chops to pan off the heat and spoon the brown butter etc over the them for several minutes. Delicious!

The last time I made these, I served a red wine. I remember thinking the sage would pair beautifully with Viognier. Both are warm, zesty and very fragrant. So, I put a 2016 Pichon Condrieu to the test. Sure enough, there was such harmony that I made sure to add a strip of sage to each bite of pork. Oh, and of course, Condrieu has ample body and weight to match the meaty chop.

Try it and let me know what you think.