Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pork chops and sugar snap peas with mint julep glaze over mashed cannelinis

I came across this recipe whilst flipping through the "Peas" slideshow on epicurious.com (is that embarrassing? I just really... like peas.) Hail, Spring! Anyway, this is a great quick weeknight meal comprised mainly of standard pantry and freezer ingredients. And there's booze!

It's a cool little riff on the mint julep cocktail. Admittedly, I'm not the biggest whiskey drinker. I've always found mint juleps to be missing something, and now I know what that is: pork.

Pretend these came from my garden. My wee little plants are only two inches tall at the moment, but I have high hopes for them.

2 pork chops, bone-in or out, whatever you like
ground allspice (there wasn't a specified amount, so I just did a nice dusting, probably one teaspoon altogether)
1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup beef broth (I used the rest of the demi-glace from steak au poivre the other night)
3 tbsp bourbon (select one your husband will finish once you've used what you need for this recipe)
1 packed tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp white wine vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced
1 can cannelini beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
juice of 1/2 a lemon

~ 4oz sugar snap peas, strings removed if necessary (I didn't weigh, I just grabbed what looked like enough for 2 people)
3 more tbsp bourbon
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

This comes together pretty quick so you'll want to have everything ready before you begin. In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter with a drizzle of olive oil (it'll keep the butter from burning). Sprinkle your pork chops with the allspice as well as kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. When the foam from the butter subsides, begin browning the pork. I used fairly thick chops, they took about 5 minutes per side. Remember, you don't have to cook the crap out of it. Nobody likes a dry pork chop.

While they're cooking, whisk together the beef broth, bourbon, brown sugar, and white wine vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

The beans are a really great Nigella recipe that I always forget about. It takes like 60 seconds. In a small pot, get the garlic cooking over medium heat in a good healthy glug of olive oil. When you can smell it, add the beans and let them heat through. They'll probably start falling apart immediately. If not, just get the masher out and give them a nice smush. Squeeze in your lemon and stir through. The consistency should be like thick mashed potatoes. Taste and season as necessary. And they're done! Go ahead and smear them onto your plates.

By now your pork chops should be done, so plop them right atop your cannelini mash. Pour your beef broth mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil. Let it cook down for a minute, then add the sugar snaps and allow to cook just for 2 minutes, you want them to retain their crunch. Using a slotted spoon, remove them and scatter over your pork chops. Now add the remaining 3 tablespoons of bourbon and boil for a minute, then turn off the heat and add your mint. Stir and douse your pork chops in lovely sticky boozy minty glaze. Consume!

Serves 2, takes half an hour at most.

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