Chuleta de Puerco con Piperrada Picante (Pork Chops with Spicy Pepper Sauce)

Chuleta de Puerco con Piperrada Picante (Pork Chops with Spicy Pepper Sauce)

Chef Jonah Miller of Huertas in NYC shares a delicious recipe excerpt from his new book The New Spanish: Bites, Feasts, and Drinks with us!

Chuleta de Puerco con Piperrada Picante

(Pork Chops with Spicy Pepper Sauce)
Serves 4

Piperrada, like romesco, is one of the Spanish sauces that has made it beyond Spanish restaurants and can be frequently found in all sorts of places. To complement pork chops, which at their best have a healthy layer of fat, in this variation of our piperrada, we added some extra heat and acid in the form of pickled cherry peppers and a splash of their brine. Fresh oregano replaces the thyme for its more assertive flavor.

A glass of dry cider would be just right here.

For the Piperrada Sauce:
2 red bell peppers
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped pickled cherry peppers
1/2 cup pickled cherry pepper brine

4 pork chops, about 1 inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
5 sprigs fresh thyme

To make the piperrada, preheat the oven to 450°F. On a large baking sheet, toss the bell peppers and the cubanelle pepper, if using, with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt. Spread the peppers apart on the pan and roast for 20 minutes, or until the skins are nicely charred on all sides, turning once or twice as needed. (You can char the skins more quickly under the broiler or by grilling them; however, I discourage this, as roasting for a longer time makes them sweeter and more tender.) Remove the peppers from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside to cool.

While the peppers are cooling, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the onion, and the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown and char slightly. Add the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Stir briefly until the wine has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Unwrap the bowl of peppers and peel them, working over the bowl to capture all of the juices trapped inside the peppers and from the condensation in the bowl. Discard the stems and seeds and slice the peppers. Add the roasted peppers and sliced cherry peppers to the onion mixture in the sauté pan and return to medium-high heat. Strain the pepper juices left in the bowl to remove any seeds and skins, and add the juice to the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, then stir in the cherry pepper brine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (At this point, you can store the piperrada, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.)

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the olive oil to the hot pan and then the chops. Cook until deeply caramelized on the first side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the chops and add the butter, swirling the pan to help it melt. Add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs, tucking them around the pan.

Raise the heat to high. When the butter foams, baste the pork by tilting the pan towards you so that the butter pools and rapidly, repeatedly spooning the foaming butter all over the chops. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes longer. The chops are done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a chop registers 145° to 150°F, or use the thumb test (testing for a medium cook); they should be warm, but not hot, in the center. Transfer the chops to a plate, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, slice the chops or dish them up whole. Pile the pipperada on top and serve immediately.


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