Trouble With Toast

Recipes: Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Whiskey Sauce | February 4, 2010

I haven’t had great luck when it comes to cooking with alcohol.

Okay, let me clarify – when I say “cooking with alcohol,” I don’t mean drinking a glass of wine while preparing dinner.  That I do just fine, thank you very much.  Rather, I haven’t mastered the art of using booze in my dishes.  Sure, I can use white wine when making my famous risotto, but anything more advanced than that has given me trouble.  My red-wine braises taste too winey, my attempt at bananas foster went horribly awry, and my recent batch of beer bread had a lousy crust.

As a general rule, I’ll just stick to drinking the hooch rather than cooking with it.  But this recipe manages to incorporate whiskey in an unintimidating way, and the dish turned out to be pretty simple and tasty.  My parents, who swore they weren’t sweet potato fans, gobbled up the tasty carby goodness.  The whiskey sauce was very tasty, though I wish I had more time to reduce it down a little better.  My only other issue was that the chops got a bit overcooked, probably because I added them back to the pan and then realized I needed to thicken the sauce a little more – so next time I’ll wait to re-add the pork until I’m satisfied with the consistency of everything else.  Overall, though, this was another nice weeknight meal courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen – and also another day when I was too hungry to remember to take a photo.  Enjoy anyway! 

  • 1.5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless center-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ½ cup whiskey
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Bring potatoes and water to cover by 1 inch to a boil in a large saucepan.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  Add ¼ cup cream and butter and mash until smooth.  Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking.  Brown chops, about 4 minutes per side.  Transfer to plate and tent with foil.

Add shallot and thyme to pan and cook until softened, about 1 minute.  Off heat, stir in whiskey, scraping up any brown bits.  Cook over medium heat until whiskey is syrupy, about 2 minutes.  Add chicken stock and remaining cream and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Return chops and any accumulated juices to pan and cook until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.  Serve with potatoes. 

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