Pork chops in port wine sauce

Pork chops in port wine sauce, © 2013 Celia Her CityLast night, I discovered port wine sauce, an easy way to make pork chops an elegant meal.

A  recipe for port wine sauce had been floating around my kitchen for years.  I had picked it up at Whole Foods, where it was touted as an accompaniment for Thanksgiving turkey.  I never tried it.  Moreover, I imagined port wine sauce would taste like other myriad meat sauces made with red wine.  That was dead wrong.

Last night, faced with the awful prospect of plain pork chops for dinner, I began leafing through a wonderful Italian cookbook (The Silver Spoon) that’s a relatively recent addition to my shelf.   There I found a recipe for braciole alla panna, or pork chops in cream, which begins by using port to de-glaze the pan.  (There are many variations on this recipe, like this one from bell’alimento that uses mushrooms and calls for Marsala instead.)

Begin by browning a couple of pork chops in a skillet, using a small quantity of butter and olive oil.  Remove the chops when cooked thoroughly.  Add 3/4 cup port wine (it doesn’t have to be pricey) to the pan.  Simmer briefly, stirring to loosen any clinging morsels.  Then add a cup of cream (or half-and-half or even whole milk), which you have first combined with a tablespoon of flour.  (If you use a thinner liquid, use correspondingly more flour.)  Salt and pepper.  Stir the sauce, bubbling, until it thickens.  The result is a rich gravy with a sweet accent that makes it a versatile accompaniment for pork or turkey.

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