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Pork Loin Chops with Roasted Rhubarb

Pork Loin Chops with Roasted Rhubarb

Pork loin chops, like beef porterhouse steaks, have both the loin and the tenderloin, separated by the rib bone. In this good springtime dish, they are roasted on a bed of onions and rhubarb that provides a fruity, slightly tart accent. Select firm rhubarb stalks–red or green will do–with bright, glossy skin. Avoid very thick or very thin stalks; both are sometimes stringy. Discard the leaves, which are toxic and should not be consumed.

Ingredients:

For the rhubarb:

  • 1 lb. rhubarb, trimmed and cut into slices 3/4
     inch thick
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. whole allspice, ground
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 6 pork loin chops, each 8 to 10 oz. and 1 inch
     thick
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbs. water

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to hold the chops in a single layer.

To roast the rhubarb, combine the rhubarb, onion, olive oil, stock, allspice, and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper in the prepared pan. Toss to combine and spread the mixture out in an even layer. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast until the rhubarb and onion are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover and sprinkle the rhubarb mixture with the brown sugar. Stir to distribute the sugar evenly and spread the mixture out again in an even layer.

Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator 20 minutes before roasting. Brush or rub the chops on both sides with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a large, heavy fry pan over high heat until very hot. Working in batches if necessary, add the chops to the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Turn the chops over and sear for 1 minute. Transfer the chops to the roasting pan, arranging them in a single layer on top of the rhubarb; reserve the fry pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat, away from the bone, registers 150°F for well-done, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chops to warmed plates and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Pour off any fat from the fry pan, set over medium heat and pour in the apple juice. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 4 to 5 minutes. Add any liquid from the rhubarb mixture in the roasting pan to the fry pan and reduce the heat to low.

In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the fry pan a little at a time and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rhubarb mixture, mix well and heat through. Spoon some of the rhubarb mixture over each chop. Serve immediately. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).