Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops and Soft Polenta

Oops.  I promised a recipe for soft polenta weeks ago, and then got sidetracked by artichokes.  More on that next week.  Not much writing for this, but polenta now!

I've made both hard and soft polenta, and soft is my favorite.  It's creamy, nutty, chewy, and it pairs well with many grilled meats or roasts.  This time I tried out an interpretation of Mario Bataili's grilled pork chops with spicy peppers.  It was a home run in my eyes.  Enjoy!
Grilled Pork Chops with Spicy Peppers  

4 thick cut pork chops (~8oz), bone in
1/4 cup salt and 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 6 cups water
1 red onion, chopped 
2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
pinch cayenne
1/2 cup sliced spicy cherry peppers from a jar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Soft Polenta
1 cup dry polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups water
salt and pepper
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

For the chops:  Add chops to salted water and brine in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.  

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add red onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add sugar, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables tender, stirring often for 8-10 minutes.  Stir in sliced cherry peppers, keep warm.

Meanwhile, remove pork from brine and pat dry.  Season with pepper and a slight pinch of salt.  Heat a grill to high heat and grill pork chops directly on heat until they reach 140°C, about 5 minutes per side.  Serve pork chops with pepper mixture and drizzle each chop with 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.

For the polenta: In a medium pot bring milk and water to a boil, season well with salt.  Gradually whisk in polenta and reduce heat to medium.  Stir with wooden spoon often and cook for 30-40 minutes or until polenta is smooth and soft, adding additional water to keep polenta loose as needed.  Once cooked, add Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.