Tag Archives: white wine in sauce

Simple Pork Chops with Wilted Escarole (serves 4)

My cooking has changed since moving to Cortona, Italy. I have always cooked in a very spontaneous way, but never more so than now!

My new habit has to do with the way this little town works. The shops open early, and if you want fresh bread and pastries, you should really get there in the morning. The fresh fish is here in the piazza on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, and, if you want the best pick of chicken legs or pork chops, you need to check in everyday.

Simple Pork Chops with Wilted Escarole

I love getting up and taking the short stroll down to the center of town. I stop in for a frothy cappuccino, and, armed with little shopping bags, I make my rounds.

I have been trying to learn the names of the different pastries, vegetables, and cuts of meat. I’m sure by the time I am ready to go home I will have them all down!

delicate escarole

I have no plan for dinner until I make my morning purchases. This particular day, the pork chops looked delicious, and this head of escarole practically jumped into my arms; chops and escarole it is!

My man Dave sampling a bit of prosciutto

And so, this is how my cooking has been going here in my new hilltop city. Lazily shopping, and cooking while sipping on my new favorite aperitif, and, last but not least, spending time with my lovely family, along with dear old friends mixed in with some great new ones.

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You will need: 4 pork chops, (this would also work with six chops. If you do, add more onions), 4 (or more) tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tsp sea-salt (I used Maldon sea-salt flakes), several grinds cracked black pepper, 8 small onions, peeled & left whole, 6 cloves garlic, left whole in skin, 1 cup white wine, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 1 head escarole, 1 tsp cayenne pepper flakes.

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season meat with salt and pepper.

Season chops. (I used Maldon sea salt flakes)

2 – Put saute pan on high heat and add about 2 or 3 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the chops in a single layer. Sear on both sides until nicely browned. Transfer to a heavy pot or casserole.

sear meat on both sides

3 – Turn heat down and add the onions. Cook until starting to brown on all sides (about 10 minutes). Add the rosemary at the end of the cooking time.

saute whole onions

4 – Add the wine and boil until it is reduced by half. Add the broth and bring back to a boil. Pour liquid with onions over chops. Cover and place in oven for 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender.

boil white wine under it reduces

5 – While meat is cooking, wash the escarole and roughly chop. Put about 1 1/2 cups of water in a big pot and when it comes to a boil, add the escarole and cover. Simmer for about five minutes. Put big saute pan on medium heat and add 2 tbs of oil. Add the drained escarole and cayenne pepper flakes. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for addition of salt and pepper.

cook escarole while meat is in the oven

Serve each person a chop (serve 2 if it is for two people), a couple of onions, some rich flavorful broth, and a side of escarole. This can also be served with rice, pasta or crusty bread.

ready to serve

Thick-Cut Pork Chops With Rich Homey Sauce (serves 4)

 I was accosted by my daughter urging me to make dinner ASAP as she was “going through a growth spurt” and as a result, was starving earlier in the evening than usual. It was hard to think of what to make under such pressure? When I get hungry, I am transformed into a crazed lunatic, and I think my daughter has inherited this wonderful quality!

Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Rich Homey Sauce - yep, last night's dinner

She suggested pork, but that would mean running to the shop, which would make dinner late, and then I would have to deal with a very cranky, hungry 10-year-old. I was just about to give in to her request and zip to the chop shop, when I remembered I had bought 4 handsome pork chops the other day. I had forgotten all about them.

Dinner was thrown into the oven, quick smart, and a piece of buttered toast was enough to satisfy until dinner was ready.

The chops were tenderly delicious, and the sauce unctuous. This dinner could be put together by a child, so all you timid cooks head to the kitchen, and give this one a go. It will not disappoint.

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You will Need: 4 thick-cut pork chops (1″), 4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tsp cumin seeds, sea-salt, freshly cracked pepper, 1 cup baby carrots, 2 celery ribs, with leaves, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 14 oz plum tomatoes, sliced (1 can), including juices, 4 thyme sprigs, 3 or 4 sage leaves, 2 tbs all-purpose flour, 1 1/4 cup white wine, 3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth).

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Put your chops on a plate or board and pat them dry. Season each one with salt, pepper, and cumin seeds (1/2 tsp cumin per chop). Place big saute pan on high flame and add 2 tbs of oil. When it is hot, add the chops and sear on both sides until golden (you may need to add more oil when you turn the meat). Transfer to plate.

sear chops

2 – Turn heat down to medium/low and add 1 tbs of oil if needed. Saute the diced onions for 5 minutes.

saute onions

3 –  Add the celery and carrots and continue to cook for another 8 minutes. Add the fresh herbs and flour and cook for another minute or 2.

saute veggies

4 – Turn heat up to high and add the wine. Let it bubble and thicken, stirring continually for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the rest of the liquid (broth) and cook until it starts to simmer. Add the tomatoes and their juices and stir. Add the chops in an even layer and when liquid comes to a simmer, cover with lid and place in the oven for 1 hour.

add wine, then tomatoes & broth

6 – Test chops for tenderness by piercing with a knife. They should be extremely tender. Let everything rest for 5 or so minutes before serving.

oh my...

I served this dinner with plain basmati rice and it was perfect. It would also be good on its own, or, boiled baby potatoes.