Wheatless Wednesday: Red Wine-Braised Pork Chops

You'll want to forget the idea of "lean meat" for this recipe -- as America's Test Kitchen explains, a lower-fat cut of pork will only dry out. Go for the gusto on this one. After all, you're getting the virtue in by going wheat-free. These pork chops need a fair amount of cooking time, so be sure to read through the whole recipe before embarking on it. Pair with lentils or mashed potatoes and/or roasted vegetables.

Photo courtesy America's Test KitchenRed Wine-Braised Pork Chops
Serves 4
Salt and pepper
4 (10- to 12-ounce) bone-in pork blade chops , 1 inch thick
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 onions , halved and sliced thin
5 sprigs fresh thyme plus ¼ teaspoon minced
2 garlic cloves , peeled
2 bay leaves
1 (½-inch) piece ginger , peeled and crushed
⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
½ cup red wine
¼ cup ruby port
2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1½ quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chops in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Remove chops from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Trim off meat cap and any fat and cartilage opposite rib bones. Cut trimmings into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add trimmings and brown on all sides, 6 to 9 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and add onions, thyme sprigs, garlic, bay leaves, ginger, and allspice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in wine, port, and 2 tablespoons vinegar and cook until reduced to thin syrup, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken broth, spread onions and pork scraps into even layer, and bring to simmer. Arrange pork chops on top of pork scraps and onions.

Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is tender, 1¼ to 1½ hours. Remove from oven and let chops rest in pot, covered, 30 minutes. Transfer chops to serving platter and tent with aluminum foil. Pour braising liquid through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl; discard solids. Transfer braising liquid to fat separator and let stand for 5 minutes.

Wipe out now-empty pot with wad of paper towels. Return defatted braising liquid to pot and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 cup, 3 to 7 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, minced thyme, and remaining ½ teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over chops, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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