Pork Chops with Vinegar and Sweet Peppers

I saw this on the PBS show "America's Test Kitchen".  It sure looked good but I haven't tried it yet.

Published: January 1, 2005
Serves 4

For this recipe, we prefer rib chops, but center-cut chops, which contain a portion of tenderloin, can be used instead. If you do not have time to brine the chops, "enhanced" pork (pork injected with a salt, water, and sodium phosphate solution, so stated on the package label) presents an acceptable solution; the enhanced meat will have more moisture than unbrined natural chops. To keep the chops from overcooking and becoming tough and dry, they are removed from the oven when they are just shy of fully cooked; as they sit in the hot skillet, they continue to cook with residual heat. The vinegar stirred into the sauce at the end adds a bright, fresh flavor. We advise, however, that you taste the sauce before you add the vinegar--you may prefer to omit it.


1 cup sugar
Table salt
4 bone-in rib loin pork chops , each 3/4 to 1 inch thick and 7 to 9 ounces
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 large red bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large yellow bell pepper , stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 anchovy fillets , minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 sprig fresh rosemary , about 5 inches long
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar , plus optional 2 tablespoons to finish sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , cold
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1. Dissolve sugar and 1/2 cup table salt in 2 quarts water in large container; add pork chops and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove chops from brine; thoroughly pat dry with paper towels, season with 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and set aside.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed ovensafe 12-inch nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to smoke; swirl skillet to coat with oil. Place chops in skillet; cook until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes, using spoon or spatula to press down on center of chops to aid in browning. Using tongs, flip chops and brown lightly on second side, about 1 minute. Transfer chops to large plate; set aside.

3. Set skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add peppers, anchovies, and rosemary; cook, stirring frequently, until peppers just begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water and 1/2 cup vinegar and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Off heat, discard rosemary.

4. Return pork chops, browned side up, to skillet; nestle chops in peppers, but do not cover chops with peppers. Add any accumulated juices to skillet; set skillet in oven and cook until center of chops registers 135 to 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes (begin checking temperature after 6 minutes). Using potholders, carefully remove skillet from oven (handle will be very hot) and cover skillet with lid or foil; let stand until center of chops registers 145 to 150 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer chops to platter or individual plates. Swirl butter into sauce and peppers in skillet; stir in optional 2 tablespoons vinegar, if using, and parsley. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, then pour or spoon sauce and peppers over chops. Serve immediately.