Pork Chops with ‘Zenzero’ Sauce

Nick Stellino


4 pork chops, bone-in, center-cut, totaling 2 to 2½ pounds
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
3 tablespoons softened butter (optional)

For the marinade:
2 cups water
2 tablespoons C&H® or Domino® sugar
1 tablespoon salt

For the zenzero sauce:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, loosely packed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups apple juice
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste

Suggested Wine Pairing: Artesa Artisan Series Napa Valley Merlot
Serves 4
Printable VersionView Video
Place the pork chops in a re-sealable plastic bag. Place the water, sugar and salt for the marinade in a small bowl, stir well to incorporate, and pour over the pork chops in the bag. Seal the bag shut and marinate the pork chops for at least 5 hours, or preferably overnight.
Make the zenzero sauce (below) and keep warm.
Preheat the barbecue. If using a gas model, set all the burners to high and close the cover until the internal temperature reaches 500 degrees.
Take the chops out of the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper to taste. Brush each side of the pork chops with the extra light tasting olive oil. You do not need to use all of it.
Reduce the heat on the grill to medium and cook the chops for 3 to 4 minutes per side with the cover down. (Alternatively, you can cook the chops in a hot sauté pan with 1 tablespoon extra light tasting olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side.) Place the chops on a tray and cover with foil.
Bring the zenzero sauce to a boil in a saucepan large enough to hold all of the chops. Add the chops and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chops, basting them with the sauce, for 2 to 3 more minutes over medium-low heat.
Place each chop in an individual serving dish. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat, and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until it thickens to the desired consistency. Add the optional butter, swirling it in the pan until it melts completely. Pour the zenzero sauce over the chops, and serve. Baked asparagus and brandied apples make perfect accompaniments.
To prepare the zenzero sauce:
Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan and cook over high heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the optional red pepper flakes, the white onion, carrot, celery, ginger and fresh herbs; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring well, for 3 to 4 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and the ketchup, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring well.
Add the sherry and Worcestershire sauce, and increase the heat to high. Stir well until reduced by two-thirds, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apple juice and chicken stock; bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes.
Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through with a rubber spatula and trying to extract as much liquid as possible.
Bring the strained sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the liquid reduces by about one-third and reaches a thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until ready to use, or store, covered, in the refrigerator once it cools down. The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.

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