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Braised Pork Chops

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I love a good braise almost as much as I love a good Pork Chop.  And in a November ‘09 column in the New York Times, Melissa Clark put the two together to create this dish.  If you follow Melissa at all, you know she gets an idea about what she is going to cook, checks out her pantry and her freezer and, if that fails to yield something she wants, she’s off to the supermarket.  In this case, she wanted a cold-weather meal, a satisfying long-cooked dish that’s soaked up flavor for hours.  Or, at least, something that tastes that way.  So she hit upon big, thick bone-In Pork Loin Chops.   Because they cook in no time, her braise had to be as big as the chops.  What she put together were ingredients that seem to marry with pork—garlic and rosemary—and, because the meat would not braise for hours and hours, she goosed up the sauce with tomatoes and, hold your breath, anchovies to give it a salty, hearty taste.

Anchovies seem to be popping up in more and more recipes that I’ve been wanting to try and this seem like an ideal opportunity. Now, before you go off about how you hate anchovies, you should know that these melt into the sauce.  They flavor it with a pungent, salty taste but you’d be very hard-pressed to identify what the origins of that taste are.  But you will discover, it has absolutely nothing in common with those nasty, hairy little things you find on the top of bad Caesar salads.  

This is a very good weeknight recipe because it takes just over a half hour.   I served it with some Snap Peas which, as you can see, looked very pretty on the plate.  I also served it with a Polenta flecked with black truffles.  Frankly, polenta and Andrew and I are not great together.  Although it was not hard to make, it really didn’t deliver much more than a kind of truffled mush on the plate.  I’d have infinitely preferred the rice or noodles Ms. Clark suggested in her recipe which, with a couple of minor changes, follows.

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