I thought long and hard about what I was going to make for House Lannister. Out of all the houses I was representing during these past few weeks the noble lion seemed the most high-brow. They seemed like they would indulge in the richest foods of the highest quality, something others would only dream of. No expense would be spared with this family.
You walk through the large double doors, inland with gold detail depicting some history of events long past. Within your private dining chamber, the candles are lit and a warm breeze blows through the high windows that overlook the Red Keep. There is danger is at your doorstep but your heart beats at a steady rhythm. You are the mighty lion. All the other creatures of the forest bow down to you, and they will again.
You are confident, you have always been confident, you have worked hard. Scraped and clawed past your enemies to get to where you are. And damn them if they think they can take you down. These are your final thoughts and with a slight smile you take the first bite of your pork chop, the spicy cocoa sauce leaves a small trail as it drips down your chin.
Drunkin Coca Pork Chops
4 Bone-In Pork Chops
4 Tbsp Butter
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 C Fresh Cherries, Pitted and Halved
1C Red Wine
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Dried Chilies de Arbol
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 C Milk
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
I have cooked a lot of pork over this adventure, it is something I am good at and I believe I can do it justice with just about any sort of variation. It is a wonderful building block to experiment with and this week I wanted to combine this white meat with a sauce that was rich with chocolate, fresh cherries, red wine, and dried chilies.
Whenever you can, I highly recommend purchasing meat with the bone still in. This goes for pork, beef, and chicken. The bone adds wonderful flavor to the cooking process and It looks damn good when it is all done. What else is more show-stopping than a big T-bone steak or bone-in pork chop?
I was on the hunt for beautiful pork chops that still had the bone attached and was a little disappointed that it took me so long to find some, another reason why I need to begin my hunt for a butcher.
When you find you perfect chops take them home and lovingly care for them. Let them come to room temperature, wash them, dry them and cover them with salt.
Preheat your oven to 350
While your pork is warming up we are going to prep our cherries. These little fruits are coming into season and are all over the grocery store so we are going to take advantage of this and go fresh. If you love uni-taskers or kitchen gadgets you may have a cherry de-pitter. This is one of the only uni-taskers that I can get behind because it is a beautiful contraption. A simple squeeze will dislodge the pesky pit and you can move through your cherries at lightning speed.
I am not blessed with this gadget and have to spend my time pitting my cherries the old fashion way, it builds character…I assume. Using a knife we are going to apply light pressure starting from the stem while working the knife all the way around the cherry. From here you should be able to work half of the fruit away from the pit. Use your thumbnail to dislodge the rest of the pit away from the cherry. I will urge you not to wear a white shirt…this is beyond messy and it will look like a crime scene when all is said and done.
In a skillet melt two tbsp of butter on high heat. Once you can feel the heat radiate from the pan carefully arrange all your chops in the butter. Do not touch for three minutes, we want to create a good sear on the meat. Flip all chops once to sear the other side for another 3 minutes.
While your meat is cooking combine sugar, chilies, wine, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about ten minutes.
In a second saucepan melt your chocolate with your milk and stir constantly. Chocolate burns extremely easily and that would be bad news! Once your chocolate is fully melted we are going to temper in the wine mixture. While whisking the chocolate gently pour your wine into the saucepan while the heat is off.
Once the two mixtures are fully combined we are going to add the cherries and return the heat to low.
Place your fully seared pork chops into the middle rack of your preheated oven. Normally, I use my cast iron. It is honestly my favorite thing to be able to sear my meat and use the same pan to bake it in the oven. I am always a fan of less cleanup. Sadly, my cast iron was not going to be able to fit all four chops and I had to resort to my bigger skillet that has a rubber handle (not sure why) and therefore it cannot safely go into my oven. Seriously, this seems like an oversight.
You may be thinking….”Kate, why would you buy a pan with a rubber handle when you know you will not be able to put it into the oven?”
Simple answer, when I moved out of my college apartment one of my roommates left it behind. I was the last one to move out so anything left was mine. And I am not one to throw away a perfectly good pan. It is also huge and I like surface area….and it was free.
I ended up lining a baking sheet with foil and laid out my meat onto its surface. Next, top those suckers with butter! Butter, butter, and more butter is my secret to keeping pork from drying out.
Set your timer for ten minutes.
Let us turn our attention back to our sauce. We are going to thicken this baby up so it coats the back of a spoon and therefore each and every bite we take.
In a saucepan melt a tbsp of butter and sprinkle in the same amount of flour. Keep it moving so we can toast, and not burn, the flour.
Are you ready to add the chocolate sauce we have labored over?
Are you sure?
I will admit, this next part scared me slightly. Chocolate is hard and there is a fine line between this is perfect and this is ruined. I will admit that a guest arrived while I was toeing this line. Bill showed up to me covered in chocolate and nervously staring my pot saying “This is either going the way I want it…or we are not eating tonight”.
Still ready? Fantastic! Channel the fierce lion within you and let’s go for it!
While whisking the roux we are going to ladle in our chocolate mixture. The chocolate is going to react with the flour fast, it will immediately being to seize up and begin to smell like you are baking a cake. Do not fear, keep adding your liquid and above all, keep it moving!
Once all of your liquid is mixed with the roux it should have smoothed out and left you with a thick sauce. Dip in a spoon and see if it easily coats the back. Also, have a taste! We just conquered chocolate. The sauce should be wonderfully smooth with a beautiful flavor of cherries that have bloomed under the red wine. Notice the heat that lingers on the back of your tongue from our chilies.
This was one of those moments that I was so excited about that I made everyone taste it at that moment. Obviously, I had a huge grin spreading across my face.
Take the sauce off of the burner.
After the first 10 minutes are up for your meat, open the oven and place another pad of butter over top each chop. Set the last timer for another 8-10 minutes.
When your meat is finally finished remove it from the oven and allow to rest for at least three minutes.
If your sauce has cooled too much you may reheat it by turning your heat on low. I recommend keeping the sauce moving as to not burn the bottom. After it is pleasantly warm pour into a container for serving and place it on your table.
Plate each chop and encourage your guest to not be stingy on the sauce. I for one loved the burst of flavor that came from each time I bit into half of a cherry.