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Sweet-and-Sour Pork Chops with Pickled Fennel

Here, pickled fennel brightens up a simple weeknight pork chop supper. Serve with sautéed spinach or chard.

Serves 4

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice; more as needed

2 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar

4 1-inch-thick bone-in pork chops (about 2 lb.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbs. olive oil

1 pint Pickled Fennel with Mustard and Peppercorns (recipe at below)

In a small bowl, mix the orange juice and sugar until dissolved.

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chops on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.

Add the orange juice mixture to the skillet, lower the heat to medium, and cook, scraping the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon, for about 1 minute. Add the chops and their juice, turn to coat with the sauce, and cook, basting occasionally, until nearly done (they’ll feel firm when poked with a finger), about 4 minutes. If the sauce evaporates, add a bit more orange juice.

With tongs, pull the pickled fennel from the jar and add it to the pan, leaving the liquid behind. Cook until the pork reaches 145°F. Serve immediately.


Tangy pickled fennel is a good match for fish and seafood. It’s also great with roasted lean meats like chicken and pork (as in the recipe here).

Yields about 2 pints

½ tsp. yellow mustard seeds

½ tsp. whole black peppercorns

1 1-lb. fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and thinly sliced

1 cup white wine vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

3 Tbs. olive oil

Kosher salt

Have ready 2 sterilized widemouth pint jars, bands, and lids. Toast the mustard seeds and peppercorns in a small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Grind to a medium-coarse texture in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Pack the fennel into the jars, layering it with the spice mixture.

In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, oil, 1 Tbs. salt, and ½ cup water to a boil over medium heat. Pour the liquid over the fennel until it reaches the top of the jars. Screw on the lids, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for 3 days before using. The fennel will keep in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine February / March 2011

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