OK. I admit it. I’m a wine fiend. I love wine. I didn’t use to be this way. The bottle that got me hooked on wine was a beautiful rosé from Bandol, France. Then I graduated to Chardonnays, Rieslings and Pinot Gris.
It wasn’t until we moved to Oregon that I really got seriously hooked on Pinot Noir, Brandy (thanks to Clear Creek Distillery), and Port-style and ice-wine-style dessert wines.
The thing about enjoying a fine wine with dinner is that inevitably the cook’s mind starts to wonder how one could use the wine in a dish. I mean, if your house is anything like ours, there are always half-empty bottles on the kitchen counter or in the fridge.
I’ve poached pears in wine, made a pork bourguignon with leftover pinot noirs. Recently we opened a bottle of Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir and I’ve been mulling it over in my mind ever since, to figure out a way to use it in cooking. There are a lot of recipes that call for a touch of Port. Most pair them with meat. Because our household eschews beef, I was fancying pork married with a sauce using some of that Quinta Reserva.
At the grocery store, I spied some nice marbled pork boneless sirloin chops, added some crimini mushrooms to my cart, a Walla-Walla sweet onion and a green bell pepper and headed to the dairy aisle for a pint of cream.
Before long I was on my way home and could already taste the Quinta Reserva in my mouth. When I got home, the first thing I did was pour myself a small glass to enjoy before getting down to the serious business of dinner.
Pan-seared Pork with Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir Sauce
- 1 boneless pork sirloin chop per person
- 1 pint (470 ml.) heavy cream
- 1 cup (240 ml.) milk
- 1 cup (240 ml.) Willamette Valley Vineyards Quinta Reserva Port-Style Pinot Noir (or any other Port-style wine)
- 1 sweet onion, sliced thinly
- 1 bell pepper cut into cubes
- 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml.) of garlic seasoning (depending on how many pork chops you have)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) canola oil or other cooking oil
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons or 120 ml.) unsalted butter
- Dry the pieces of pork with paper towel and set on a plate.
- Sprinkle garlic seasoning and ground black pepper on both sides of pork pieces.
- In a cast iron skillet or heavy pan over high heat add the cooking oil and sear each side of the pork pieces for 3 to 4 minutes. Resist the temptation to turn the pork pieces before at least 3 minutes. You really want the pan to sear the pork so that it remains juicy.
- Remove the pork to a plate, tent with foil and let rest.
- Turn the flame down to medium and melt the butter in the same pan that you cooked the pork in. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté, stirring several minutes until onions begin to turn translucent. Add the bell peppers and stir until peppers turn dark green.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove all the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.
- Deglaze the pan with the Port-style wine, stirring to dissolve all of the bits of pork and vegetables stuck to the pan.
- Add cream and milk and stir rapidly, using a whisk. Lower the heat so the sauce just simmers. Don’t let it come to a rapid boil or the sauce may separate. Reduce over low heat for about 5 minutes.
- Return the pork to the pan with the sauce and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, then test with a meat thermometer to see if it’s reached 160 degrees F. Add vegetables back to pan to incorporate into the sauce, and you’re ready to dish it into a serving bowl.
Note: A great side for this would be steamed jasmine rice or egg noodles.
Wine note: We enjoyed a bottle of Anne Amie 2003 Oregon Belle Rouge, a Bordeaux-style red blend, with our meal. The dark cherry and mellow tobacco flavors of the wine were wrapped around a nice minerality that stood up well to the sweet-flavored sauce from the pork dish.