My friend Temi is having twins. Not only is she having twins, but they will be large, rambunctious baby boy twins, and she is having them soon. Like November soon. So when she wants to go out to dinner, you go. Cuz it ain't happening again any time soon.
Temi is one of those friends who I love to go to scene-y restaurants with, to the types of restaurants everyone's boyfriends and husbands won't take them unless it's a birthday or they've done something horribly wrong.
For our last pre-baby date we tried out Wood Tavern in Rockridge. We usually split a bunch of stuff, but with a small basketball team clamoring for sustenance, Temi got her own plate this time.
Good thing. She ordered something so over-the-top indulgent, bacon-y, meaty, and awesome; something we never would have looked at if we were splitting some stuff. It was insane. I've never been so happy to have a pregnant lady around.
A luscious, fat pork chop perched on a heap of sauteed corn, potatoes and pancetta, surrounded by a moat of intensely savory marsala sauce, studded with charred padron peppers. I ate a whole loaf of bread just scooping up this crack sauce.
I ate... uninvited... off a pregnant lady's plate... who is pregnant with twins... and she didn't stop me... and I don't even feel bad about it. It was THAT good. Thanks Temi. You're a champ. You're gonna be the best mom ever.
Pork Chops with Corn, Bacon and Marsala
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 min Cook Time: 25 min Total Time: 35 min
4 fat boneless pork chops
Salt and freshly ground pepper
24 oz / 700 mL chicken stock or broth
2 ears of corn, kernels sliced off, cobs reserved and cut into 3" lengths
2 small Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into small 1/2" chunks
6 pieces bacon or pancetta
3 large shallots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 red chili pepper, seeds and veins removed, chopped
4 oz / 118 mL marsala wine
2 tsp chopped fresh sage (optional)
2 oz / 60 mL half and half
Handful parsley, chopped
Remove pork chops from fridge and season with salt and pepper about 30 minutes before cooking.
In a medium saucepan, combine stock, corn cobs, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer. Check after about 8 minutes to see if potatoes are done. As soon as they are tender, strain broth into a bowl, discarding corn cobs and reserving potatoes in a separate bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon or pancetta til crisp. Remove from skillet and chop roughly.
Pour most of the fat from the skillet, reserving it in a bowl. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook pork chops, 4-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
Wipe out any burnt bits from skillet, and add a drizzle of bacon fat if the pan is too dry. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook shallots, garlic and chili til softened, about 2 minutes. Pour in the marsala, scraping the bottom of the skillet to deglaze. Increase heat to medium-high again. Pour in stock, then gently stir in sage, corn and potatoes.
Simmer sauce til slightly thickened and reduced, about five minutes. Turn off heat and swirl in half and half. Add a bit more if you like a creamier sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
To serve, pile some corn, bacon and potatoes on the plate along with a generous pour of sauce. Top with a sprinkle of parsley, then place a pork chop on top with another drizzle of sauce.