With a couple of jars of red pepper jelly in hand, I couldn’t help but dollop some over soft cream cheese for the old-school cracker spread we all adore.
But I wanted to do something beyond that with the rest, something a little more out of the norm.
I found what I was looking for in this wonderful recipe for “Pepper Jelly-Glazed Boneless Pork Chops with Steamed Baby Bok Choy.” The recipe is by Sara Foster of North Carolina’s Foster’s Market and can be found in the cookbook, “A Twist of the Wrist” (Alfred A. Knopf) by Los Angeles Chef Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.
We all know how pork takes to sweet, spicy and fruity in great Southern barbecue. It marries as beautifully with pepper jelly’s sticky goodness.
The pork chops are marinated in pepper jelly whisked with red wine, rosemary, red wine vinegar, garlic, orange zest and orange juice. You can marinate the chops for an hour just before cooking them. But to do them real justice, marinate them overnight for a bigger boost of flavor.
The pork chops are fried in a pan with 1/4 cup oil, which can make for a messy stovetop to clean up, so be sure to use a splatter screen on your pan if you have one. The chops called for in the recipe are 3/4-inch thick. If like me, you use chops that are a lot thicker, you might want to sear them in the pan, then finish cooking them in an oven until they reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
Serve with simple pan-steamed bok choy and more of that addicting pepper jelly on the side.
Pepper Jelly-Glazed Boneless Pork Chops with Steamed Baby Bok Choy
4 (6-ounce) boneless pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
For the marinade:
1/4 cup pepper jelly, plus extra for serving on the side
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 large garlic clove, grated or minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
Grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For rest of the dish:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated or minced (about 2 teaspoons)
6 baby bok choy, cored and quartered
Pinch of chile flakes
1/4 cup canola oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
Rinse pork chops under cool water, pat them dry with paper towels, and place them in a shallow bowl, baking dish or large sealable plastic bag.
To make the marinade, whisk together the pepper jelly, wine, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, chile flakes, orange zest and juice, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl. Pour marinade over the chops, turn to coat the chops (or seal the bag and shake to coat), and set them aside while you make the bok choy. (Note: For best results, marinate the chops overnight.)
Heat olive oil, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt in a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute until garlic is soft and fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from browning. Turn up the heat, add bok choy, and cook for 1 1/2 minutes. Season with kosher salt and sprinkle with chile flakes and 2 tablespoons water. Cover pan and steam the bok choy for about 2 minutes, or until it is just tender but still crisp. Turn off the heat and keep skillet covered while you cook the pork. (Be careful not to overcook the bok choy as it will continue to cook slightly while it rests in the pan.)
Heat canola oil in a large skillet over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the oil’s almost smoking (you can smell the oil at that point). Place pork chops in the skillet and cook them for about 3 minutes, until they’re a rich brown color and the rub coating them is browned but not burned. Flip the chops, turn off the heat, and let them sit in the pan until pan stops sizzling, about 3 minutes. The pork will feel firm to the touch and will no longer be pink in the middle, but it will still be moist and juicy.
Place one pork chop and one head of boy choy on each of four plates and serve with pepper jelly on the side.
Adapted from a recipe from Sara Foster as published in “A Twist of the Wrist” by Nancy Silverton
Another Recipe from that Book: V8 Pasta
Another Great Nancy Silverton Recipe: Mozza’s Pizza Dough