Sounds a fairly innocuous type of title, doesn't it? The end result is a very long way from being bland and uninteresting though - it most definitely registered with me as being total satisfaction on a plate.
It wasn't so much the enormity of the pork chop (which was fairly impressive), nor the rich flavour of the wine (which was very apparent) - it was the sheer depth of flavour involved in the sauce. That sauce was just the embodiment of umami (which for those who may not know, is "savouriness" - one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty).
The sauce begins life with the flavour of the pork as it sears in the hot pan, then there's a soft roundness of well cooked garlic - both fried and poached, the red wine and hint of bay leaf, the beef stock (yes, beef!) and all brought together finally by a tablespoonful of balsamic vinegar and that last knob of butter. Oh holy gravy, Batman, but it's good.
I still can't quite believe that those few ingredients made such a stellar sauce.
On the menu planning post when I first talked about this dish, I was a little bit concerned about the garlic, as I can be quite sensitive to raw garlic. I had been a bit nonplussed by the sight of "18 cloves of garlic" in the ingredients list - but then realised that the original recipe fed 6 people, so promptly halved the quantities. At 3 garlic cloves each, it doesn't seem quite so scary.
On the other hand, though, I was quite keen to use our lovely plump "jumbo" garlic that we'd picked up - quite by accident - recently. As soon as the cloves went into the pan and began to soften and turn golden, I started to see where the whole garlic thing was going. Once they are softened and golden, they are then poached in the red wine and stock until butter-soft. There's no trace of raw garlic left, by then, just beautifully sweet, gentle garlic that went fantastically well with the baked Jelly potato I served it with.
Everybody loved this dish - even hubby, although he had some issues with the fluid nature of the sauce, preferring his sauces to be more robust in consistency. Son and heir ate his way through his dinner uttering appreciative "mmmmn's" and "ooooh's" at appropriate moments.
As an easy to prepare meal for a special someone, or for a dinner party (perhaps not with a jacket potato though!), this one ticks all the boxes.
I'm not sure whether the recipe originated with www.tastykitchen.com or with The Pioneer Woman - but whoever it was, they deserve my applause and thanks! Do, please, try this recipe. It is honestly one of the best I've tried and if you're yearning for something that is really meaty and especially savoury, it will deliver that in spades!
PORK CHOPS WITH WINE AND GARLIC (feeds 3)
2 whole pork chops
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
9 peeled garlic cloves
1 glass red wine (standard wine glass size)
1 glass hot water
1 beef stock cube (I used oxo)
1 whole bay leaf
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp additional butter.
1. Heat butter and oil in a wide-bottomed frying pan over a high heat.
2. Pepper both sides of the pork chops (use salt only if you're using a low salt stock cube) and sear on both sides until they are nice and golden - about 2-3 minutes each side. There is no need to completely cook the chops at this point). Remove the chops and reserve somewhere to keep warm.
3. Reduce the heat slightly, then add the garlic cloves. Keep them moving so as not to burn, until they are golden and softened.
4. Add the red wine and bay leaf. Stir it around to de-glaze the pan and let it reduce, increasing the heat if necessary. Continue to cook until the sauce is nice and thick.
5. Add the water and crumble in the stock cube. Mix well.
6. Return the chops to the pan, getting as much of the meat to submerge as possible. Allow the sauce to bubble around the chops until you are sure that the meat is on the verge of being cooked.
7. Add the balsamic vinegar and shake the pan to distribute it evenly. (It's almost impossible to stir, with the chops in there too!). Cook until the chops are done.
8. Remove the chops from the pan once more (keeping them warm) and let the sauce reduce further if needed, until it is rich and thick and the garlic is butter-soft.
9. Add the final knob of butter and stir it in as it melts. Season to taste and serve.