6 pork chops cut 1 inch thick and previously marinated for several hours, if you wish, in salt, lemon juice or wine
3 to 4 tablespoons rendered pork fat, lard or cooking oil
A heavy, 10- to 12-inch fireproof casserole
2 tablespoons butter
2 halved cloves garlic (optional)
A hot platter
1/2 cup dry white wine, dry white vermouth, brown stock, canned beef bouillon or marinade liquid
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Dry the pork chops on paper towels. Heat the fat or oil in the casserole until it is moderately hot, then brown the chops, 2 or 3 at a time, on each side for 3 to 4 minutes. As they are browned, transfer them to a side dish.
If the chops have not been marinated, season them with salt, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of thyme or sage.
Pour the fat out of the casserole and add the butter and optional garlic. Return the chops, overlapping them slightly. Baste them with the butter. Cover and heat the casserole until the meat is sizzling, then set in lower third of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Turn and baste the chops once or twice. They are done when the meat juices run a clear yellow with no trace of rose. Make a deep cut next to the bone if you have any doubts.
Arrange the chops on a hot platter with whatever vegetable garnish you have chosen. The chops will have rendered about 1/2 cup of juices during their cooking; remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from them. Pour in the 1/2 cup of liquid and boil rapidly, scraping up all coagulated cooking juices, until you have about 1/2 cup of concentrated sauce. Taste for seasoning, and pour it over the chops.
*Ahead of Time Note
If the chops are not to be served immediately, return them to the casserole, baste them with the sauce, cover loosely, and keep warm in turned-off oven for 20 minutes or so.
Per serving: 168 calories, 16 gm protein, trace carbohydrates, 10 gm fat, 60 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 126 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber
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Fresh, crisp leaves of Belgian endive are most often found in tossed green salads. Used as a vehicle for dips, a little of this expensive vegetable goes a long way. But over the years I have encountered few people who are familiar with braised Belgian endive. That's one reason why I'm drawn to this recipe when planning a holiday menu. After 90 minutes in the oven the whole, cigar-shaped heads take on an unexpected bitter, yet buttery flavor and a silky texture. Braised endive, a side dish that goes beautifully with fowl or veal, presents an element of surprise and a welcome counterpoint to cranberry sauce and the sweeter side of the buffet table. -- Walter Nicholls
Endives a la Flamande (Braised Belgian Endive)
It is too bad Belgian endive is so expensive in this country, as it is one of the better winter vegetables. The plain butter-braise is, in our opinion, the most delicious way of cooking endive. It emerges a beautiful light golden color and its characteristic flavor is enhanced by its slow absorption of the butter. Endive goes particularly well with veal.
For 6 people