Pork Chops with Peppers, Vinegar and Black Olives

Brined pork chops cooked with red peppers, onions, black olives, and garlic in a skillet on stone

Smothered with sweet red peppers, tangy vinegar, and earthy black olives, this dish offers a satisfying intensity of flavors that nearly jumps off the plate, yet it’s a dish that’s simple to prepare. Halved and roasted baby potatoes make a great accompaniment.–Stanley, Evan, Mark and David Lobel

LC Note

This recipe allows you to choose whether to brine the chops or not. As usual, read the entire recipe carefully before beginning.

Pork Chops with Peppers, Vinegar and Black Olives

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 4 H
  • Serves 4
Print RecipeBuy the Lobel's Meat Bible cookbook

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Ingredients

  • For the brine
  • 2 quarts cool water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • Herbs and seasonings of choice (see Note)
  • For the chops
  • 4 rib pork chops, cut 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, lightly scored along the fatty edges (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 recipe brine (see above)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 2 large red bell peppers, seeds, stems and ribs removed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 2 large anchovy fillets, chopped and then mashed to a paste, or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped black olives, such as gaeta or kalamata

Directions

  • Make the brine
  • 1. In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 quart of the water with the salt, sugar, and your herbs and seasonings of choice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour into a large pot and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 quarts water. Cool to below 45°F (7°C) in the refrigerator.
  • Cook the pork chops
  • 2. If brining the pork chops, place them in a large bowl and immerse in brine. Transfer chops to refrigerator to brine for 2 to 3 hours. Remove from the brine, pat dry and bring to room temperature before cooking. If not brining the pork chops, generously salt them on both sides.
  • 3. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chops generously with black pepper and dredge them in the flour, shaking to remove any excess. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chops, pushing on them to help them make contact with the skillet, and cook until deep golden brown on both sides, but still somewhat raw in the center, 5 to 6 minutes on the first side and 3 to 4 minutes on the second. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
  • 4. Add the peppers, onion, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt to the skillet and toss thoroughly to coat with the oil. Cook until peppers are beginning to color at the edges, for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine, vinegar, anchovies, and 1/4 cup water; bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the olives. Return the pork chops to the skillet, laying them on top of the peppers and adding any juices on the plate. Cover skillet, leaving the lid ajar slightly, and simmer gently until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of chops registers 135°F (57°C), for 4 to 8 minutes more.
  • 5. Transfer chops to warmed serving plates. Increase the heat and simmer the liquid in the skillet stirring often until just a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flavorful sauce remains, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste and, if desired, season with more salt, although keep in mind the olives and anchovies have salt. Divide the peppers and sauce among the plates, placing them over and around the chops. Drizzle each with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and serve.

Note

  • Brines can be flavored with any number of herbs, spices and other aromatics. A bunch of sage, a few bay leaves, a head of crushed garlic cloves, and a tablespoon or so of peppercorns makes a fine addition to the Italian-style Pork Chops with Peppers, Vinegar, and Black Olives. Exact quantities are not too crucial; be generous but not excessive when flavoring brines with herbs and spices — you want to flavor but not obscure the natural taste of the meat.

Recipe Testers Reviews

We thought these pork chops were superb. The vinegar nicely balanced the rendered pork fat in the sauce and the slightly caramelized peppers and onion—the combo never fails—added a wonderful layer to the whole dish, flavorwise and visually.

Although it’s optional, I highly recommend brining the pork, which ensures that the chops will be juicy and flavored through and through. I didn’t add any herbs to the brine—I think the strongly flavored sauce would have masked the delicate aroma. My rib chops were 1 1/4 inches thick and they were close to room temperature before dredging in the flour. I cooked them for 5 minutes on the first side, 4 minutes on the other side, and then 6 minutes after putting them back in the skillet and they couldn’t have been cooked more perfectly.

As the rib chops were pretty substantial, I served them with roasted asparagus instead of a starchy side dish. It may be unnecessary to add salt. Kalamata olives and anchovies have plenty of salt, and one can always adjust the sauce before serving. I didn’t “pre-chop” the anchovies as they easily dissolve in the sauce.

I loved this dish! A little salty and briny from the anchovies and olives, a little (or a lot) spicy, and silken with sauteed red peppers, all pulled together with a delicious wine and vinegar sauce. I'm looking forward to making this again!

My pork chops were 1 inch thick and I used Chardonnay wine. I followed the recipe as presented and ended up with fabulous, tender pork chops complemented by all the other ingredients.

A fantastic recipe for tender, juicy pork chops, and I didn’t even brine them! We couldn't believe how tender and flavorful these pork chops were. I was short on time, which is why I didn’t brine them, and it obviously didn’t matter. It must have been the wine and vinegar that tenderized them, as well as adding the great flavor, along with the complexity of the anchovy paste. Whatever the magic is, this is now my new way of making perfect pork chops!

I used Pinot Grigio and the anchovy paste I keep in the fridge. My chops were 1 1/4-inch-thick rib loin pork chops and I simmered the pork chops for 8 minutes after adding them back to the skillet and they were perfectly tender. I simmered just the sauce for 2 minutes to reduce it a bit.

I served them with wild rice to sop up the great pan sauce as well as steamed broccoli. With the pan sauce, we didn’t feel the chops needed the additional olive oil drizzle. Definitely a company-worthy dish!!

Pork loves vinegar, onions love peppers, and we loved all of these flavors. I loved that the brine time was short, only 2 hours, as well as its versatility of seasoning. I used the end of a head of garlic and a handful of a favorite Italian herb seasoning (Penzey's Tuscan Sunset). Next time I'll only make half the quantity of brine, though, as I had way more than needed to cover the chops.

I had beautiful rib chops that were just over 1 inch thick. Dissolving the salt and sugar for the brine in a small amount of water is genius. Next time I'll use the microwave to make it easier. I brined the chops for exactly 2 hours.

And though the sear timing was on point, returning the pork chops to the skillet to cook took just 4 minutes, which isn't much time to marry the flavors, and I was concerned that the pork would be overdone. However, we weren't disappointed. And I didn't reduce the sauce quite as much as the picture and instructions indicated because I like it saucy—and was very happy with a generous nap of silky, flavorful sauce. The pork was really juicy and tender, and the sauce tangy and unctuous. I used a dry rosé for the pan sauce (I'd thought I had white but nope).

Careful with the olives; though delicious, their assertive flavor can be a tad shouty. I'd start with just a few tablespoons of olives, adding more during your final tasting if you love their briny pop.

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