The preparation of these tender chops is another example of complex flavor building. Crisp the bacon, then brown the chops in the bacon fat, next brown the leeks, then add the chopped fresh tomatoes, using their juice to scrape off any stuck-on brown bits in the pan. Serve it all up over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes essentially, your favorite carb that will soak up the delicious sauce. To guarantee perfectly cooked chops, take the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer: They are done between 140 and 145°F.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 4 bone-in pork chops (about 2½ pounds), 1½ inch thick
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 leeks (white and light green parts), halved or quartered if large, keeping the root intact
- 1 pound plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon toasted poppy seeds
- ½ cup chicken stock
- Creamy polenta or mashed potatoes, for serving
- Cook the bacon in a large, straight-sided sauté pan over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate; reserve 1 tablespoon fat in the pan.
- Season the chops with the oregano and salt and pepper. Cook, in 2 batches, until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side (they should not be cooked all the way through). Transfer to a plate; reserve the fat in the pan.
- Add the leeks cut-side down. Cook, until brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and poppy seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the stock.
- Return the chops to the pan. Simmer until the chops are just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Slice the chops and serve with the sauce and bacon over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.