Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Berkshire Pork Chops with Green Beans, Homestyle Potatoes, and Sweet Pan Sauce


2 Nieman Ranch Berkshire Black pork chops (preferably 1 1/2 inches thick, mine were only just over 1)
2 tbsp. goose fat, or other high heat oil
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 cups water

2 plum tomatoes
2 small minced shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbls. balsalmic
1/4 cup bianco vermouth
dash of agave syrup or sugar
Salt and pepper

3/4 pound green beans
1/4 onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper

1 large red potato, julienned
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. goose fat
Salt and pepper
Green Flash Le Freak

For Potatoes:
1) Heat goose fat.
2) Add julienned potatoes.
3) Cook over medium to med-high heat until potatoes brown, about 10 minutes.
4) Add onions, minced garlic, thyme, salt & pepper.
5) Cook until onions are done to your liking.

For Green Beans:
1) Cut trimmed green beans on the bias into thin slices. (This is great for making large, tough beans more tender.)
2) Heat the oil and cook onions and sliced garlic for 2-3 minutes until translucent.
3) Add beans and cook for a few minutes until crisp-tender and bright green; season to taste.

For Pork Chops:
1) Mix salt and sugar in a gallon zip-lock bag with the water.
2) Add pork chops and brine for about 1 hour. (Maybe slightly more, but not less.)
3) Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with a baking sheet on the bottom rack.
4) Remove pork chops, pat dry, and season.
5) Heat goose fat in pan until smoking; add pork chops, browning 3 minutes each side.
6) Place pork chops on heated baking sheet to finish cooking in the oven, until meat thermometer reaches 125 to 127 degrees.
7) Remove, tent, and let rest for about 5 minutes.

For Pan Sauce:
1) Add minced shallots and garlic to pork pan; cook for about thirty seconds.
2) Add 1/4 inch diced tomatoes and balsalmic, cooking for 1 minute.
3) Add bianco vermouth and scrape bottom of pan to remove all browned bits.
4) Reduce liquid in pan by half.
5) Garnish pork immediately with potatoes, green beans, and pan sauce, and serve.
6) Open Le Freak.
7) Enjoy together.

A crazy beer. It blends Belgian yeasts with big west coast hops... not an easy task. The flavors will often clash like a Euro-American showdown over a Burberry sale rack. Both give off strong herbal notes, but banana and bubble gum rarely blend well with straw and pine sap. They actually go very well together, but it's like drinking two different beers at the same time. First the hops nose, then you taste and get the malty spice, followed up by the bitter IPA finish. I wouldn't have paired this with pork except that the pan sauce was a sweet balsalmic reduction, which I thought would stand up to this beer. This beer, however, might just be enjoyed most on its own, savoring the subtle undulation between styles.

Lyndsay here, and let me just say that one- or two-pot meals are really my cup of tea, lacking a dishwasher as I do, and being in my soul of souls the kind of (lazy) person who figures it all tastes good in a dogpile together anyway, right? Gabe is a lot more likely to make separate sides, separate sauces, separate fish and meat courses for God's sake, so this was all him. It's a Tuesday night meal for the ambitious, or the second-date hosting, or the rabid brining enthusiast, and to my mind a fine-ass spread for American fare small-scale dinner party. Pork chop and pan sauce recipes were stolen with shameless pride and affection from America's Test Kitchen (linked through our site, or pick up The New Best Recipe).

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