Friday, March 11, 2016

Saint Patrick's Day Pork Chops

I had written a nice post about pretty spring food and then I remembered: Saint Patrick’s Day is next Thursday, and I won’t be posting until the day after. Sure, you could make it a very long weekend, but I didn't want to miss the day, plus I found a new and tasty Irish dish (that doesn’t involve fish! Or cookies!).

Do you know, I’ve never been in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day? So I can’t say whether the towns actually celebrate it (apart from Dublin, where the tourists are), or if it’s just another day, and it’s only the exiles who have made a big thing of it, with parades and turning a river green and the like. I'll be checking in with "my" pub to see how they handle things.

Cows in an Irish meadow (they're everywhere)
You might notice there’s a lot of cream and butter in this recipe. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since the dairy business is big in Ireland, particularly in West Cork (over 4,000 herds of cattle), and Kerrygold is one of the country’s largest exporters. I will not comment upon the rate of heart disease in Ireland. Why spoil the fun?

The pork? Well, back when people there were just scraping by with their small dairy herd and their potato hills, they kept a pig to sell for cash, which was hard to come by. There’s now a large piggery up the hill from where my grandfather was born (and a lot of empty houses around it, because a piggery is rather aromatic).

Saint Patrick's Day Pork Chops with Honey Whiskey Green Peppercorn Sauce(Inspired by The New Irish Table by Margaret Johnson)

[Note: This recipe serves four. Since there are only two of us at home, I cut it in half, which is what you see in the pictures.]


4 pork chops (abt 1/2 lb each)
Forgive the mess: I'm doing a bit of
spring cleaning in my pantry closet
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking


3/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into
small pieces
1 Tblsp green peppercorns (preserved in liquid)
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
1/2 cup honey

Pat the pork chops dry, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and saute the chops. Remove them while they=re still a bit springy (they will continue to cook from their own heat). Place on a plate and cover, then keep warm while you prepare the sauce.

[Note: a lot of recipes call for cooking liquid to reduce it by some percentage. I can=t just eyeball that, and every pan is different anyway. The bottom line is, cook until the liquid thickens a bit. Use the time estimate if you want.]

Wine in the pan (if this was French, it would
be called deglazing)
In the same pan, cook the wine over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until reduced by half.

Add the chicken stock and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by one-third.

Add the cream and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until reduced again by one-third.

All liquids in the pan
Slightly mash up the green peppercorns with the back of a spoon, then stir into the sauce.

Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in 2 Tblsp of the whiskey and 2 Tblsp of the honey, and cook for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Taste it and add more of either or both if you want. Ditto with the salt and pepper.

The finished sauce
Place a generous spoonful of sauce on each warm plate and set a pork chop on it. Surround with boiled new potatoes. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Yes, that's Ireland--Glandore Harbour in West Cork. No, it's not March in this picture. (Nor in the book coming next year. Hmm, maybe the one after that?)

Find it at Barnes and Noble or Amazon


  1. That does sound tasty!
    Please clarify for me--you list 1/2 each of whiskey and honey in the ingredients but mention adding only 2 tablespoons each in the instructions.

    1. That's what the original recipe (which I modified) suggested. I guess you're supposed to be prepared in case the sauce tastes blah to you. (You can always drink the leftover whiskey.)

  2. These would go great with Roberta's herbed biscuits from yesterday!

  3. Sheila, question. Did you stand on a ladder for the one overhead shot? It's great! ~ Daryl