From the SCCC Kitchen: Braised pork chops simple, savory

Chef Robert L. Payne II knows there’s still time for hearty springtime fare in the kitchen. He likes

“From the SCCC Kitchen” offers Daily Gazette readers tastes from Schenectady County Community College’s nationally accredited American Culinary Federation culinary arts program. Recipes selected by SCCC instructors can be easily prepared in home kitchens. Today, technical specialist Robert L. Payne II — also chef at his family’s The Bears’ Steakhouse in Duanesburg — puts pork on center stage. His Braised Pork Chops are a savory supper that uses chopped and diced vegetables and white wine.

Barbecue and baseball seasons begin soon.

With warmer weather approaching, shortstops and center fielders will take their places in the field. Steaks, hamburgers and chicken breasts will take their places on the grill.

Chef Robert L. Payne II knows there’s still time for hearty springtime fare in the kitchen. He likes the big taste of his Braised Pork Chops, and likes the easy steps involved in the cooking process.

“Even if you come home from work and you really don’t know what to make and you have a few basic ingredients, you can pull it off,” Payne said.

Home chefs generally have onions, carrots and canned tomatoes in the house. The whole dish can be put together in about 30 minutes.

“I call it one of my comfort foods; it’s probably one of my favorites,” Payne said, adding that July and August are not out of the question for a braised chop dinner. “But even in the summertime, you can tweak this for summertime, you can put some lemon zest in there and change the taste just a tad. Artichoke hearts could be another twist if you want to sauté.”

Just because it’s pork does not mean cooks must fret.

“People used to say, ‘Oh my God, it’s got to be brown, it’s got to be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees,’ and, yes, there are the guidelines and safety we have to worry about,” Payne said. “But a question that was brought up, ‘Can pork be a little bit pink?’ Yes, most certainly it can. It comes down to personal preference.”

Braised Pork Chops

8 pound pork loin, center cut, bone in

Salt and pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil, as needed

5 ounces chopped carrot

5 ounces chopped onion

1 pound can diced tomatoes

2 ounces black pitted olives, sliced

2 ounces green pitted olives, sliced

2 1⁄2 tablespoons flour

15 ounces white wine

1 1⁄2 quarts chicken or veal stock

Trim pork rack of excessive fat. Season the rack and, in hot oil, brown the rack and set aside.

In a braising pan, heat more oil and add carrot and onion, cooking until onion is golden. Then add tomatoes and olives.

Add the flour and cook for a few minutes. Deglaze with white wine and reduce until almost dry.

Add the stock and the rack. Bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees until tender, about 30 minutes until temperature reaches 150 degrees.

Remove the rack, strain the liquid and reserve. Cook the liquid until it coats the back of a spoon.

Cut the rack into chops and serve with the braising liquid.

Categories: Life and Arts

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