BRAISED PORK CHOPS WITH CRANBERRIES (for four)
4 loin pork chops, about 1 inch thick, brined for 2 hours in a solution of ¼ cup kosher salt dissolved into 1 quart (4 cups) cold water
4 tablespoons lard or unsalted butter, or a mixture of both
freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
¾ cup granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350*.
2. Rinse and dry the pork chops with paper towels. Heat the lard or butter in a heavy saucepan until quite hot. Brown the pork chops on each side in the hot fat. Remove from the pan, and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.
3. Put a third of the cranberries into the bottom of a small baking dish that will hold the pork chops in 2 layers. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the sugar over the cranberries. Lay 2 of the pork chops side by side on top of the sugared cranberries. Top with half of the remaining cranberries, and sprinkle another ¼ cup of sugar over all. Top with 2 remaining pork chops, the same as before, and the remaining cranberries and sugar. Place a piece of parchment directly on top of cranberries, and a piece of foil directly on top of the parchment. Cover the baking dish with a tight-fitting lid, or wrap with a double thickness of foil to seal tightly.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, until the pork chops are tender. Taste the cooked cranberries carefully, and add a little salt or black pepper if needed. Serve the pork chops hot with the cranberry sauce spooned over.
adapted from Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock, The Gift of Southern Cooking