For the longest time, the only wine I drank was White Zinfandel, mostly because I only drank wine with my family, and my parents only drink White Zinfandel. We toured the champagne house of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin and the Louis Latour winery.
When I traveled to France with my culinary school in 2006, I was exposed to many different kinds of wine. Now, my first choice of drinking wine is usually a Riesling. However, when ordering a steak or pork chops, I will generally opt for a red: a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinot Noir. I also love wine-derived sauces on my meat.
I had originally bookmarked a recipe from Food Network magazine, Pork Chops with Plum Sauce, as a special meal to celebrate the anniversary of our first date. However, plums are not in season yet and I couldn't find them anywhere! I had already purchased the red wine, and decided to use it for a sauce anyway.
The sauce below, courtesy of Cooking Light, was originally intended for a roasted chicken breast. However, it paired wonderfully with thick, juicy pork chops. The red wine is reduced for 10 minutes, then mixed with chicken broth and further reduced. In the end, the flavor of the Pinot Noir is subtle and delicious. And I'll make the Pork Chops with Plum Sauce later in the summer.
- 4 boneless pork chops
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 ½ tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Pepper to taste
- Cooking spray
- 3 tbsp finely chopped shallots or onion
- 2 cups Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ¾ tsp sugar
- 3 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
- Combine water, kosher salt and 1 ½ tbsp sugar in a resealable plastic storage bag. Place pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line a sheet pan with tinfoil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
- Remove pork from brine and pat dry. Brush with olive oil and season to taste with pepper.
- Place in oven to cook for 20 minutes.
- While pork is cooking, spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat, and cook the shallots for 30 seconds. Pour in the Pinot Noir and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Increase heat to high and bring wine to a boil. Cook at a boil for ten minutes, or until wine is reduced by half.
- Add in the chicken broth and cook for 16 minutes, until the mixture is reduced to ⅓ cup.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper and sugar. Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly, until sauce is smooth and thickened.
- Serve pork chops with two tablespoons of sauce.