This week we’re indirectly cooking with booze. But we added extra booze at the end, so everything evens out.
Our boozy middleman is Noble Tonic: 01 Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup. Noble Tonic is a line of handcrafted syrups and vinegars, and this particular maple syrup was aged in charred American oak barrels with a little raw Tuthilltown bourbon. While it’s a bit more pricey than Aunt Jemima, it’s a delicious, versatile ingredient that’s great for everything from pancakes to pork.
We used it to create a sauce for indoor pork chops (no grill required) on Valentine’s Day, and the result was amazing. A little bacon and smoked paprika made for a chop that was sweet, savory, and smoky. Our only regret was that we didn’t make a third one.
Bourbon Barrel Maple Pork Chops
2 pork chops (we used some dry-aged, bone-in chops from our local butcher)
2 thick-cut slices of applewood smoked bacon, cut into lardons
3 Tablespoons of Noble Tonic 01 Tuthilltown Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup
1 splash whiskey
⅓ cup chicken stock
Preheat the oven to 325º. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops, then sprinkle each side with smoked paprika. Allow the chops to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and toss in the bacon. Cook until the bacon is browned and crunchy. Remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside. Discard all but about 1 Tablespoon of the bacon fat.
Sear the chops in the remaining 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat for about 3 minutes per side. Then, pour 1 Tablespoon of the maple syrup over each chop and immediately place the skillet in the oven. Allow the chops to cook for roughly 15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of at least 145º.
Remove the pan from the oven, remove the the pork chops to a plate, and cover them with a foil tent. Place the skillet back on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the whiskey and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the remaining Tablespoon of syrup and whisk until combined. Just before you are ready to plate the chops, add the bacon back to the pan. Pour the glaze directly over the chops and serve with Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and a good bottle of Pinot Noir.