Braised Pork w/ Risotto

The air is getting cool, the leaves are changing and football is finally back…that can only mean one thing; time to dust off the pressure cooker and braise some meat…or in this case pork!  I was bored on Sunday and didn’t have much to cook except for a few cheap, thin pork cutlets and a bag of risotto that’s been staring at me every-time I entered the pantry since last February. The only way to make these guys tender is to cook the shit out of them, so that’s exactly what I did, with the help and time efficiency of my pressure cooker; you should absolutely own one of these if you consider yourself a halfway decent cook.

Serves 3 -4

4 pork cutlets, fat on

Cooked risotto (Arborio rice) – see recipe: http://bit.ly/S75OX9

1 bunch tarragon, save a tbsp for garnish

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks of celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 shallot, chopped

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup grape/cherry tomatoes sliced in half

EVOO

S&P

1 tbsp Ground coriander

Season both sides of the cutlets liberally with S&P and coriander; I love using coriander on my proteins as it gives it this extra bright, salty taste.  Add 1 tbsp of EVOO to a hot pan and brown the pork on both sides.

Cheap cuts about to be transformed into a luxurious dish!

Remove the pork and place to the side; now add your chopped onion, celery, carrot and shallot to the pot and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes to soften them up and bring out their juices…in technical terms this if often referred to as sweating, but that term really shouldn’t be used when talking about something that’s ultimately going in your mouth.  After they’re cooked add the wine and the broth and bring to a boil; reduce the heat and add the tarragon (I usually tie a bunch with butcher’s twine for easy removal) and the pork. Be sure the liquid only comes up about ½ – ¾ up the chops or you will essentially boil them, and that would be no bueno.

Juices coming together for a nice braise!

At this point you’re ready for the pressure, so seal the lid, lock it down and turn up the heat to high.  The cooking time will not begin until the pressure indicator is ready and the emergency valve starts releasing steam; this will let you know it’s time to start. Keep in mind that different brands/models of pressure cookers may require different methods, so always refer to your own user manual so you don’t blow up your kitchen…literally. Mine is a Duo II from Fagor and it ran me about $120 and is worth every penny.

One of the most essential weapons in my arsenal!

Turn down the heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes for thin cutlets, if you’re chops are bigger take it up to 40 minutes. Pay special attention to the liquid requirements for you cooker, as it will burn up in a heartbeat and stink up your kitchen something awful if it dries out…been there, done that…not fun. Once the pork is ready, shred it with two forks and set aside.

To prepare the dish, place a ½ cup of risotto in the middle of a bowl, top with a handful of the shredded pork and pour the braising liquid around the rice. Garnish with a few of the tomatoes (I used some black cherry and grape tomatoes from my garden if you’re wondering about the color) and some herbs, I used thyme here, and you’re done…all this in a little over an hour!

Finished dish...not bad for an hour!

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