Pork Chops with Marsala and Fennel

Thin slices of fennel, a shot of dry marsala, and a touch of tomato paste combine to make a quick, intense pan sauce for sautéed pork chops. If you prefer, substitute red wine for the marsala.

Yield: 4
Recipe from Food & Wine

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, more if needed
  • 4 pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick (about 2 1/2 pounds in all)
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into thin slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry marsala
  • 2/3 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

  1. 1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Season the pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Put the chops in the pan. Cook, turning once, until browned and done to medium, about 5 minutes per side. Remove and put in a warm place.
  2. 2. If necessary, add oil to the pan to make about 2 tablespoons fat. Add the onion, fennel, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Uncover and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, 1 minute longer. Add the marsala. Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to dislodge any brown bits. Boil until reduced to approximately 1/4 cup, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. 3. Stir in the broth, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and any accumulated juices from the meat. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, until the sauce thickens and the fennel is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon parsley, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and the pork chops. Cook until just heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Variation: Instead of chops, sauté one-inch-thick medallions of pork tenderloin, seasoned with salt and pepper, until just done, about two minutes per side.
  5. Wine Recommendation: A well-made Nebbiolo delle Langhe has earthy and herbal flavors to blend nicely with fennel and just the right amount of tannin and dried-cherry fruitiness for the marsala and pork.
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