I’ve wanted to make Pork Chops alla Giambotta for a long time so when I saw some gorgeous Karabuta Pork Chops at Ottomanelli I knew what I was going to do.  

The origins of Giambotta aren’t clear.  The classic southern Italian dish is akin to a ratatouille or vegetable stew, but in the US, when you see Giambotta, it typically involves a Pork Chop simmered in potatoes, onions and hot cherry peppers.  Occasionally sausage will be added but I didn’t do that here.   The success of this dish, like any Italian dish, rests in the quality of the ingredients.  Karobuta Pork Chops are the best you can buy.  From the Black Tuscan or Black Berkshire Pig, they are juicy, succulent and flavorful without being gamey.  Try to find them.

Pork Chops alla Giambotta

4 Karobuta Pork Chops, about 1″ thick
1 Red Onion, sliced into crescents
1 Vidalia Onion, sliced into crescents
4 Cloves garlic, minced
4 Red potatoes, cut into bite size cubes
6 Hot cherry peppers, seeded and sliced 
Salt & Pepper to taste

~  Initially cook, and set aside the potatoes and the onion & pepper mixture ~

Start by browning the potatoes in a bit of olive oil.  Use the pot that will ultimately hold the finished dish.  Cook the potatoes most of the way through.  (you will finish them in the oven)  and then remove to a bowl and set aside.   

Combine the onions, garlic, and hot peppers in a separate frying pan and saute until thoroughly softened, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.  

~ The Karabuta Pork Chops:  You can see most of the fat is around the edges of the meat. Some of this renders and makes the meat flavorful and juicy. The rest can be trimmed after serving.  In all, the meat is very lean ~ 

In the pan you used for the potatoes, add a tablespoon of butter and over high heat, sear the pork chops to form a nice brown crust on each side – about 1-2 minutes per side.  Season with salt and pepper.   Once the chops are browned,  cover them with the potatoes and the onion mixture and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Check the meat once to make sure it’s not overdone.  The Karabuta are so juicy that they can take an extra minute or so without drying out, but be attentive.  

~ A close up of the onions, garlic, and peppers  ~

~ This is the dish just prior to going into the oven ~

At this point, you’re done.  Plate and serve!   I should caution – this dish will be fairly spicy.  The potatoes pick up some of the heat from the peppers and although they help mitigate the heat, along with the sweetness of the onions,  it’s still spicy.  If you want less heat,  halve the number of cherry peppers being used. 

~ The Chef’s Plate ~

So what did we drink?   Well, to me,  Karabuta calls for Brunello and that’s what we did with amazing success.  The 2006  Castello Banfi Brunello is in an amazing place right now.   We decanted the wine for 60 minutes because past experience with this wine tells me it needs it.  A slight sediment was removed. 

In the glass the wine is a deep ruby red with a trace fade to copper at the rim of the bowl. Classic appearance for this Sangiovese.  Aromas of crushed wild red fruits,  fresh herbs, tobacco, warmed earth and a hint of pine needles are lovely.   On the palate this is full bodied and elegant with refreshing acidity and wonderful structure to the integrated tannins.  Ripe red fruit is accented by pipe tobacco, earth and leather notes that are subtly woven.  Still somewhat tannic on the finish without the food,  so cellaring this for another 2-3 years is not out of the question,  but it’s gorgeous  right now.  95 points.  About $55 retail.  

~ This Brunello is lovely right now.  Drink or Hold ~ 

Salute!

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