Pork Chops in Lemon-Caper Sauce

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Sarah Anne Ward for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Paola Andrea.
  • YIELD: 4 servings
  • Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Here’s my favorite recipe in Toni Tipton-Martin’s excellent and invaluable “Jubilee: Recipes From Two Centuries of African American Cooking” (2019). It’s a remix of one that the chef Nathaniel Burton collected into his 1978 opus, “Creole Feast: Fifteen Master Chefs of New Orleans Reveal Their Secrets,” and one that Tipton-Martin glossed-up with lemon zest, juice and extra butter, a technique she learned from the restaurateur B. Smith’s 2009 collection of recipes, “B. Smith Cooks Southern-Style.” It’s a dish of smothered pork chops, essentially, made into something glorious and elegant. “The food history of blacks in America has been a story of the food of survival,” she told me in an interview. “We need to start celebrating the food they made at work.”

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bone-in pork chops (about 8 ounces each)
  •  Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 very small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium, if store-bought
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  •  Hot sauce (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Dry the chops with paper towels, and season aggressively with salt, pepper and the thyme. Swirl the olive oil into a large skillet, and heat over medium until the oil begins to shimmer. Add chops, and cook until well browned on each side and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Drain the fat from the skillet, then melt 2 tablespoons of butter in it over medium heat until sizzling. Add the shallot and garlic, and sauté until the aromatics soften, reducing the heat if necessary, about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the flour, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the wine and chicken stock, raise heat to high and bring the liquid to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by half, 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the capers, parsley, lemon zest and juice and hot sauce to taste (if you’re using it), and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter until it’s melted and the sauce looks smooth. Nestle the pork chops into the sauce, and allow them to warm up for a couple of minutes, then serve, pouring sauce over each pork chop to taste. Garnish with more fresh parsley.

Credit: SAM SIFTON

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