For these pork chops with vinegar and sweet peppers, we prefer rib chops, but center-cut pork chops, which contain a portion of tenderloin, can be used instead. You can use either table or kosher salt in the brine, but note that fine-grained table salt measures differently from the larger crystals of kosher salt and that brands of kosher salt measure differently too, which is why we provide measurements for the two most common brands. If you do not have time to brine the pork chops, “enhanced” pork (pork injected with a salt, water, and sodium phosphate solution) presents an acceptable solution. To keep the chops from overcooking and becoming tough and dry, they are removed from the oven when they are just shy of fully cooked; as they sit in the hot skillet, they continue to cook with residual heat.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated
Internal Temperature Note
The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests a final temperature for the pork chops of 160°F (71°C). The choice is yours, but we find 160°F pork to be unpalatable.
Pork Chops with Vinegar and Sweet Peppers
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 4
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup table salt, 1 cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt, or 3/4 cup Morton kosher salt
- 4 bone-in pork rib chops, each 3/4 to 1 inch thick and 7 to 9 ounces
- Ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 anchovy fillets, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 sprig rosemary, about 5 inches long
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar, plus optional 2 tablespoons to finish sauce
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1. Dissolve the sugar and salt in 2 quarts water in a large container; add the pork chops and refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove the chops from the brine; thoroughly pat dry with paper towels, season with 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and set aside.
- 2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position; heat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe, 12-inch nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke; swirl the skillet to coat with the oil. Place the pork chops in the skillet; cook until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes, using a spoon or spatula to press down on the center of the chops to aid in browning. Using tongs, flip the chops and brown lightly on the second side, about 1 minute. Transfer the chops to a large plate; set aside.
- 3. Set the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the sweet peppers, anchovies, and rosemary; cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers just begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the water and 1/2 cup vinegar and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to medium; simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 6 to 8 minutes. Take he skillet off the heat and discard the rosemary.
- 4. Return the pork chops, browner-side up, to the skillet; nestle the chops in the sweet peppers, but do not cover the chops with the peppers. Add any accumulated juices to the skillet; set the skillet in the oven and cook until the center of the pork chops registers 135°F to 140°F (57°C to 60°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 8 to 12 minutes (begin checking the temperature after 6 minutes). Using potholders, carefully remove the skillet from the oven (the handle will be very hot) and cover the skillet with a lid or foil; let stand until the center of the chops registers 145 to 150 °F (65°C) on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a platter or individual plates. Swirl the butter into the sauce and the sweet peppers in the skillet; taste and stir in the optional 2 tablespoons vinegar, if desired, and the parsley. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, then pour or spoon the sauce and peppers over the chops. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers Reviews
This was enjoyable to make, and very tasty. I opted for center-cut chops that were on the larger side of 1 inch in thickness. I used the brine, rather than employ enhanced pork, and also used Morton coarse kosher salt. The tastes from the anchovy fillets, vinegar, and fresh rosemary sprig accented the dish nicely. I removed the chops from the oven at exactly 145°F, since I prefer some pinkness in pork dishes, and, with the thicker type chops, this was easily achieved.
This is one of those recipes that I would keep as a basic staple, after getting through the initial round of measuring, timing, and following the “correct” steps. The brining really did make the pork chop flavorful and juicy, and I found that if I brined the meat first, by the time everything else was chopped and prepped, the 30 minutes were nearly up. The amount of sauce and peppers was perfect, and I didn’t need to add additional vinegar at the end. I’ll definitely be making this one again.