Aired March 23, 2008
4 bone-in pork chops (each about an inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 bunch scallions, cut into one-inch pieces
4 strips center-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 28-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Season the pork chops with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and sear them in the hot pan until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chops to a plate and cover them with foil.
To the same pan the chops were cooked in, add the garlic and scallions. Cook until the scallions begin to get tender, 3-4 minutes.
While the scallions are cooking, place a medium-size pot over medium heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Once hot, add in the chopped bacon and cook until crispy, 5-6 minutes.
To the pan with the scallions, add the vinegar, brown sugar and tomatoes. Bring the sauce up to a bubble and add the pork chops back in. Finish cooking the pork chops in the sauce, 3-4 minutes. (If your chops are really thick, cover the pan with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil.)
When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and reserve on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pot, and add in the chicken stock, milk and peas. (Be sure to keep the pot at arm's length when adding liquid to the hot bacon drippings in case it splatters.) Bring everything up to a bubble (giving the peas time to heat up -- double duty!).
Whisking constantly, gradually add the polenta to the pot and cook, still whisking, until the polenta thickens up, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and reserved bacon.