Pork Chops in Lemon-Caper Sauce
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."
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4bone-in pork chops (about 8 ounces each)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- ½teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- 4tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1very small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1cup dry white wine
- 1 ½cups chicken stock, homemade or low-sodium, if store-bought
- 2tablespoons drained capers
- 2tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- 1teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
- Hot sauce (optional)
Step 1Dry 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.
Step 2Drain 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.
Step 3Stir 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.