domenica 10 marzo 2013

Pork chops with juniper sauce

Photo: Wikipedia (all other photos by L.C.)
Juniper.  I had never cooked with this prized berry.  Curiosity was mounting.

I saw a classic episode of Columbo, “Murder Under Glass” (1978), with the incomparable Peter Falk and two great costars, Louis Jourdan (“Three Coins in the Fountain”) and Michael V. Gazzo (“The Godfather”).  Jourdan plays a famous food critic, who tastes a dish by an accomplished Italian chef (played by Gazzo).  Jourdan lists the ingredients — including juniper.

It turns out that in fact I did already know the flavor of juniper — the principal ingredient in gin! (The word “gin” comes from ginièvre, the French word for juniper.)

That notwithstanding, I was dying to cook something with juniper.  Today was the day!


1 lb (c. 3) pork chops, center cut
corn starch
extra-virgin olive oil
1 C red wine
1 C blood orange juice (or normal orange juice)
blood orange peel (or normal orange peel)
1 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, halved
freshly-ground black pepper
juniper berries (Coarsely crush them with a mortar and pestle, or put the berries in a little plastic bag and beat them with a mallet.)


There are a few variables in this basic recipe.  You can use pork chops with or without the bone. For the grill you can use thick chops, for the frying pan thinner ones.  If they are boneless, you can pound the chops, or butterfly them and then pound them.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the first three.  This will be the marinade.  Place the cutlets in the bowl.  Marinate them in the fridge — a few hours if the chops are thin, many hours if thick. (My chops had been in the freezer; I defrosted and marinated them at the same time!)

Remove the chops from the marinade.  If you do them on the grill, do them in the normal way.  If you fry them: In a frying pan, heat the oil (not too much — there's already some in the marinade).  Add some butter.  Fry the chops — if butterflied, 2 minutes per side; if normal, 5 minutes per side. (I pounded them but didn't butterfly them.) Remove the chops from the pan.  Without lowering the flame, add the marinade to the pan.  Reduce it a little.  Lower the flame, put the chops back into the pan, cover, and on very low heat let the flavors blend for several minutes.

Remove the chops from the pan.  In a blender, or with a hand blender, purée the sauce with some corn starch. And buon appetito!


1 commento:

  1. mai mangiato le bacche di ginepro! ma la tua carne è molto invitante!
    buona settimana, Laura