Hayward prefers cooking with pork from small farmers who raise heritage breeds, such as Berkshire, Gloucestershire Old Spot or Duroc. This pork is deeply colored and often as marbled as high-quality beef, and Hayward treats it with the special care it deserves. His two-day curing process is worth the time because it allows the spices to penetrate these thick and juicy chops.
Plus: More Pork Recipes and Tips
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves, plus 2 thyme sprigs
1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns, plus 6 whole peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 star anise pod, crushed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 pound pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 rosemary sprig
1 flat-leaf parsley sprig
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons honey
1 quart chicken stock
How to Make It
Put the pork chops in a glass baking dish and rub them all over with the minced garlic, chopped thyme and 1 tablespoon of salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a spice grinder or a clean coffee mill, combine the turbinado sugar with the juniper berries, coriander seeds, crushed peppercorns, fennel seeds and star anise and grind to a sandy powder. Sprinkle the spice rub all over the chops. Cover and refrigerate again overnight.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the pork shoulder pieces and cook over moderately high heat, stirring once, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot, shallots, rosemary, parsley, crushed garlic, whole peppercorns and thyme sprigs; cook until the shallots begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and honey and boil over high heat until reduced by half, 5 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat until the pork stock has reduced to 3/4 cup, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain the jus into a small saucepan and skim off the fat.
Preheat the oven to 375°. In a large, ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the pork chops and cook over moderately high heat until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops and cook for 1 minute. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the pork chops for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chops registers 150°. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest in the skillet for 8 minutes.
Reheat the pork jus and season with salt. Cut the pork between the rib bones into 4 chops and transfer to plates, browned side up. Serve with the jus. Alternatively, cut the meat off the bones and carve the chops as you would a roast.
Malbec once had a reputation in France as a blending grape. Then Argentinian vintners in the Mendoza Valley discovered just how great it can be on its own, especially with something hearty like these chops.
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