Recipe: Make Pork Chops Two Ways By Sonoma Chefs Jeff Mall & Josh Silvers


Sonoma chefs Josh Silvers and Jeff Mall of Syrah Bistro and Zin Restaurant, respectively, have teamed up on a cookbook for Rodney Strong Vineyards that highlights Sonoma-style cuisine, entitled Down Home: Downtown. Silvers provides the downtown, while Mall contributes the down home recipes. The two will be showing their stuff at a special wine-pairing dinner at the James Beard House this Wednesday. Tickets are available on the James Beard website. The two share their takes on pork chops, which can be dressed up with Fennel-Apple Salad and Potato Pancakes or made like mom used to make with Fresh Applesauce, Braised Rainbow Chard, and Cornbread Stuffing.

Apple Wood-Smoked Pork Chops with Fresh Applesauce, Braised Rainbow Chard and Cornbread Stuffing

Yield: 4

One 12-ounce bottle microbrewed beer
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 cups water
4 thick-cut bone-in pork chops (about 2 1/2 pounds total)

For the Applesauce:

1 cup granulated sugar
4 Granny Smith apples (about 2 pounds total), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
pinch kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups apple wood smoking chips

In a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, melt the sugar, shaking the pan frequently, until it just begins to turn golden, 3-4 minutes. Add the apples, lime juice, and salt. (The caramel will clump, but will melt as the applesauce cooks; add a little water to melt it if necessary.) Cook, stirring often, and adjusting the heat as needed to prevent scorching, until the apples are soft and caramelized a light brown color, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon. Set aside.

For the Cornbread Stuffing:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 andouille sausage (about 8 ounces), diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
4 cups crumbled cornbread (about half an 8-inch square pan of corn bread)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook, turning until well browned on all sides, 5-6 minutes. Add the onion, celery, and green pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent and soft, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the parsley, sage, and chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Put the corn bread in a large, shallow 8-cup baking dish and pour the onion mixture over the corn bread. Stir gently to coat and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, and bake until browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

For the Rainbow Chard:

2 bunches rainbow chard or Swiss chard (about 1 1/2 pounds total), stemmed
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, such as Nana Mae’s
1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Coarsely chop the chard leaves. In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Working in batches, add the chard and cook until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Add the vinegar and chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

In a large bowl, combine the beer, salt, sugar, molasses, Sriracha hot sauce, garlic, peppercorns, and thyme. Add the water and stir until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the pork chops, cover, and refrigerate for 12 hours.

While the stuffing is baking, prepare a charcoal grill for indirect-heat cooking, mounding the hot coals on one side of the grill. Remove the pork from the brine (discard the brine) and pat dry. Soak the apple wood chips in warm water for 10 minutes; drain. Sprinkle the apple wood chips over the coals and place the pork chops on the indirect-heat area of the grill (not over the coals). Cover the grill and smoke the pork chops for 20 minutes. Remove the cover and open the vents to increase the heat; if needed, add a few more coals. Move the pork chops to the direct-heat area of the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium. Transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil; let rest for 5 minutes.

To serve, reheat the applesauce over low heat. Spoon a mound of corn bread stuffing into the center of each of 4 dinner plates. Top each with one-fourth of the chard. Lean a pork chop against each mound and add a spoonful of applesauce.

Pork Chops with Fennel-Apple Salad and Potato Pancakes

Pork Chops with Fennel-Apple Salad and Potato Pancakes

Yield: 4

4 cups water
3 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
4 thick pork chops (about 10 ounces each)

For the Fennel-Apple Salad:

1 apple, peeled and cored
1 bulb fennel (12 ounces), trimmed
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, cut the apple and fennel into paper thin slices. Put the slices in a bowl, cover with ice water, and soak for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, sugar, lemon zest, and olive oil together. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the fennel and apple well and toss with the vinaigrette.

For the Fennel Pollen Aioli:

1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 large egg yolk at room temperature
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp canola oil
big pinch fennel pollen

On a cutting board, mince the garlic with the salt and mash with the flat edge of the knife until it forms a paste. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard together. Whisk in the garlic paste. Combine the oils in a measuring cup and, whisking constantly, add them to the yolk mixture a few drops at a time until the mixture is emulsified and all the oil is incorporated. (If the mixture separates, stop adding the oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.) Whisk in the fennel pollen and season with salt and pepper. If the aioli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Potato Pancakes:

2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 yellow onion
1 large egg, beaten
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
about 2 cups canola oil for frying

Using the large holes on a box grater, shred the potato and onion into a bowl of hot water. Drain, cover with more hot water, and drain again. Cover with cold water, rinse, then drain very well. Spread the shreds on a clean kitchen towel, roll it up, and wring to squeeze out as much water as you can. Empty the shreds into a bowl and add the egg, flour, salt, and pepper; stir to combine thoroughly. Gently shape the mixture into 4 equal cakes.

In a large, heavy skillet over high heat, heat 1/2 inch oil 375 degrees F (a shred of potato will sizzle and brown almost instantly), and add the potato pancakes. Flatten each gently with a metal spatula and fry until golden brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Flip over and cook until golden brown on second side and tender throughout, 3-4 minutes more.

For the pork chops: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, salt, vinegar, sugar, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then remove from the heat, and let cool completely. Pour over the pork chops in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Drain the pork chops and pat dry. Grill for 6-7 minutes on each side for medium. Place a potato pancake on each of 4 dinner plates and top each with a pork chop. Add a spoonful of aioli and the fennel-apple salad. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired and serve.