Our mother's home village is in Southern Italy, a beautiful place called Belmonte di Sanno. The cooking style there is greatly different than Northern Italy, where our father is from. Out of deference to her husband, she cooked Genovese style while our father was alive. But over the years, recipes crept out from her past. The recipes her mother gave her that she made just 'off the cuff' are surprisingly good. We are the richer for this heritage.
You might hesitate to make this dish, looking at these ingredients. You will find that the final flavors do indeed become more than parts. So get adventurous, come to Italy!
This recipe needs a big wine to prepare it and to drink along with it. The 1997 Nebbiolo is just the answer here. And again, here is the marriage of north (the wine) and south (the food).
6-boneless pork chops
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup Nebbiolo, Cabernet or any big-bodied wine
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup prunes
4 small bay leaves
Dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
3 ounces dark chocolate
Put all the sauce ingredients except the chocolate in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 10 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft. Cool, remove the bay leaves, put in food processor, and whirl until almost smooth. Return to pan, add chocolate, and stir until melted. Keep warm. If too thick, add a little more wine.
Meanwhile, sauté pork chops in a small amount of olive oil in a sauté pan. Brown the chops on both sides, and then simmer approximately 15 minutes. To be sure, use a meat thermometer to 140 degrees.
To serve, plate the pork chops and drizzle the sauce over them. Be sure to serve a 1997 Nebbiolo from Fratelli Perata