Cast Iron Sherry Pork Chops

So I was invited to participate in a Sherry Week Blog competition, where I create a recipe using sherry wine and the best recipe wins a meal at El Celler de Can Roca, one of the best restaurants of the world, located in Girona, Spain. Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity, especially since I had just the dish in mind that I wanted to make us for dinner. 

Pork chops are seared in sage-flavored pancetta fat before sautéing onions and fennel until golden. All those layers of flavor stuck to the pan are deglazed with sherry which creates a rich sauce to finish cooking the chops in. The oloroso sherry is dark and aromatic, with plenty of body to hold up to the bold flavors in this dish, while adding the perfect acidity to cut through the fat. It’s the perfect hearty weeknight meal for the cold days ahead. The best part is that the dish bridges perfectly with the oloroso sherry. Use some of it for cooking, then pour more into glasses to enjoy while you eat.


Cast Iron Sherry Pork Chops

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus cooling time


Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 ounces pancetta, diced

2 tablespoons sage leaves

Two 8-ounce bone-in pork chops

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Oloroso D.O Jerez-Xeres-Sherry

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a medium cast-iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until golden and the fat is rendered, 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the sage leaves to the pan and fry until crisp, but not burnt, 8 to 10 seconds. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  3. Raise the heat to medium high. Season both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper, then sear, flipping once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the pork to a plate and add the onion and fennel to the skillet. Sauté until golden and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and lemon juice, then add the pork chops back to the pan to braise until they’ve reached an internal temperature of 140°, 5 minutes more. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  5. Let the pork rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes, then divide between 2 plates with the onion and fennel. Drizzle with pan sauce and garnish with the fried sage, then serve.