Pork Chops in Garlic Wine

I got really sick last week. I mean like, deathly ill. All right, maybe not deathly ill, but it felt like it. Bad enough for me to go to the doctor AND take 3 1/2 sick days. Apparently some sort of respiratory infection has hit Beijing this past month. I blame the pollution. I couldn’t eat for several days, lost my voice, felt like I coughed up a lung…it was all very unpleasant. I spent five days in bed, except for when my ayi came several hours before I expected her to be there, and the place was an embarrassing mess. I’m still not exactly comfortable being at home while I pay someone to clean up after me, so even though I could barely breathe, I still rolled out of bed and tried frantically to put away laundry and tidy the worst of things before she could. But that effort entirely wiped me out and I had to take a nap while she cleaned around me.

My sickly efforts to nurse and nourish myself left tons of dishes from attempt at making soup–Beijing has absolutely no good delivery options for sick-person soup. It’s disgraceful. Basically all I ate for several days was broth, toast, rice gruel, and melon popsicles. I dragged myself to the doctor and they gave me a truck load of antibiotics to take, and for good measure, a coupe bottles of Robitussin, which has the wonderful side effect of making me feel like a reanimated corpse. Seriously, it puts me to sleep, but a horrible, crazy-dream filled d

eath-nap, makes my brain sluggish and my limbs unresponsive to trying to move, and weird heart sensations. Basically, awful.

I’m finally alive again, although still with lingering symptoms. It’s troublesome because I have a week left until my fight, and I went to training and found all my strength that I had worked up in the past three months had fled in five days. SO discouraging. But I’m on the mend and determined to get back to shape…in a week. Totally possible!

In that respect, I spent Sunday afternoon planning out a week of good, wholesome meals. The first of which being this pork chop dish.

I bought a package of pork shoulder chops and gave them a quick brine, about 30 minutes, in salt, sugar, whole peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, and herbs. A quick brine works, or if the meat is frozen, however long you need to thaw the chops. I made a pot of brown rice and roasted frozen broccoli–straight from the freezer to a baking pan, removing any chunks of ice, tossing in a little bit of olive oil salt and pepper, and roasting at 200C until golden-toasted on the edges.

Pat the pork dry and season with salt and pepper. You’ll need 5-6 whole cloves of garlic, 1 cup red wine, 1/2 cup chicken broth, olive oil, butter, bay leaf. I was trying to use up an old bottle of wine, that was on its way to vinegar, so I also used a couple tablespoons of molasses.

Heat up a pan, and add the oil and some butter. Sear the pork a few minutes on each side, then remove. Add in the garlic. Let it get some nice color, then add in the wine and bay leaf. Let this cook down, then add the chicken stock and molasses (or not). Place the pork back in the pan and the heat on low so that the pork sort of braises. About 4-6 minutes per side. Remove the pork (it should be a nice, juicy,  just-barely-pink color when cut open) and reduce the wine until thick and the garlic is soft. Add in another tablespoon of butter to finish it off and season to taste. Spoon over pork to serve.

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