If you’re looking for a simple, tender, and savory dish for the weekend, look no further. A simple blend of braised pork chops with garden fresh sage and tomatoes is truly worthy of a title like heaven on earth.
Leave it to the folks of Modena, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, to create something of this caliber at culinary perfection. Often labelled the Heart of Italian Cuisine, or the Bread Basket of Italy, it is well known for its wheat, homemade pastas, cheeses (think Parmigiano), butter, balsamic-vinegar, and their pork products.
Since this dish is so simple to prepare (all you need to do is add the ingredients), it is imperative to purchase the highest quality of ingredients that you can to support the emergence of the wonderful flavors and aromas that will fill your kitchen and nurture all those who have come to dine.
Just remember, this dish comes from a region in Italy known for its perfectly crafted products so please do not skimp!
Your pork can be bone-in or boneless loin chops, it is up to you, just make sure they are fresh and from a good source.
When I use butter in my dishes I aim for the best I can find (and afford). If I am making a dish that revolves around butter, I always go with a nice Parma butter; Delitia is a great butter from Parma, and can often be found in your local Italian specialty store. Otherwise, for my normal dishes I like to choose a good local organic brand or even the popular European style butters out there.
Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. Canned, jarred, boxed. So many choices. Last year I canned 20 quarts of tomatoes from our garden, so my choice is simple. However, if I need to buy some canned tomatoes I always look for the company that uses the least amount of ingredients, and those ingredients should really only be organic tomatoes! Beware of added salt, calcium chloride, powders, dehydrated this or that, and so on. Bionaturae is a good brand that I love for my simple dishes. I like their cans too because they are BPA free; and I love their pasta as they only use wheat- no preservatives and additives. Remember, Less is More!
All that good yummy sauce can be added to some freshly cooked pasta or polenta, resulting in a real, simple, savory Italian meal- Modena style. Cooked in no time at all, and with very little work on your part.
And to cleanse the palette afterwards, a simple radicchio and frisee salad with olive oil, vinegar of your choice, and a little salt. Make sure to check out my next post on this simple scrumptious salad!
- 4 Pork loin chops, bone-in or boneless, ¾ inch thick
- Flour on a plate
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 6-8 fresh sage leaves, or half that if dried
- Ground fresh black pepper
- ¾-1 cup canned or jarred Italian tomatoes, with their juice. If you are using fresh ones, peel and chop.
- In a saute pan that can hold all your pork chops without crowding, heat up the butter and oil around medium high. While this is going lightly flour the pork chops evenly. Once the butter foam has subsided, place the chops and sage leaves in the pan, and cook till they turn a golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
- Once browned, add your salt, ground pepper, and tomatoes (with juice) and reduce heat to a slow simmer, and cover your pan with the lid slightly ajar. Cook till tender when prodded with a fork (cooking time depends upon thickness of the chops and your preference of tenderness- on average 45 minutes). Turn the pork chops at least 2 times in the sauce while cooking.
- Once they are done transfer the pork chops to a warmed serving plate and cover with the thick sauce. If the sauce is too runny, you can always reduce the sauce over high heat for a few minutes, and once thickened spoon off most of the fat and pour over the pork chops and serve.
Another variation I have tried with this is substituting the pork chops with some chicken thighs (or breasts). I served this with polenta one night and it was well received by my girls!
I like to pair this with a nice Chianti, a northern Italian red, or a Pinot Noir. Nothing to big or bold, but I am sure that wouldn't be bad though:)