Night Shift Cooking – Wheat Wine Pork Chops

Posted on October 14, 2011 by

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Last night, I continued what’s become almost a tradition in our household: cooking with Night Shift beers. Of course, we always emphasize the pairing of Night Shift beer with one’s meal, but often neglected is the addition of beer into a recipe itself. There are many ways to do it, and though I’ve found multiple ways to fail, a recent success compelled me to write write a quick post.

My meal of choice was simple enough and wallet-friendly: pan-roasted, honey-glazed pork chops. The real question was my choice of beer/marinade. In this case, I chose a one-year-old Night Shift Wheat Wine that I had been aging in the basement. When cooking with beer, you never want to go too hoppy in your selection; the wheat wine was a perfect blend of low hops, high alcohol (good for breaking down tough fibers) and sweet, slightly fruity, caramel flavor. With my beer selected, I was good to start.

For easy readability, and because it’s more fun than paragraphs, I’ve detailed my process for Wheat Wine Pork Chops in numbered steps below. Some might note that my terminology and directions are alarmingly amateur, or that my decision to end one numbered step and begin another seems almost arbitrary. This is true. I am a guy who sometimes cooks a good meal. My goal in the kitchen is to make it work, style be damned. My goal below is the same…

1. Mixed up a marinade of 6oz (half a 12. oz bottle) Night Shift Wheat Wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, two chopped garlic cloves, and a healthy dosing of pepper, salt and Mrs. Dash (absolutely key in my culinary endeavors). Poured the marinade into a Ziploc freezer bag, added two pork chops, sealed the bag and let it sit fridgeside for two hours.

(click on pictures to enlarge; don’t click if you don’t like huge pictures of meat and beer)

Remaining wheat wine with beer-marinating pork chops

2. [2 hours and two “Boardwalk Empire” episodes later] Diced up a whole yellow onion, browned the slices in a pan with olive oil, salt and pepper, and removed most onion pieces into a bowl (left a few behind to get crispy).

3. Maxed out heat on the mostly empty pan, removed both pork chops from the Ziploc bag (sans marinade), and drizzled some honey on one side of each. Honey-side down, I placed both chops onto the hot pan, searing them nicely. After about 15 seconds, I poured in half the marinade and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Every so often, I also doused the pan with wheat wine from my half a glass left.

A pour of wheat wine to keep things honest
Dream combo: meat simmering in Night Shift beer

4. Once most of the liquid burned off, I again poured a quick drizzle of honey onto the uncooked face of each pork chop and flipped them. Once seared, I mixed in the remaining marinade and wheat wine, and cooked for another 3-4 minutes. During the last 30 seconds or so, I tossed in my bowl of onions to coat them in whatever liquid remained.

Pan-roasted, honey-glazed Wheat Wine Pork Chops

And that’s pretty much it. The pork chops (topped with the onions and pan sauce) were ready to serve, paired, of course, with another bottle of Night Shift Wheat Wine. My side dish could have been anything from rice pilaf to oven-roasted potatoes; I went with gnocchi, mainly because it was all I had. The pork was sweet, moist and delicious, completely upstaging the gnocchi, and my glass of wheat wine complimented the meat perfectly.

Overall, this was a meal I could easily cook again (and would). The addition of beer not only makes the process more fun, but also contributes more flavors, both subtle and strong, than most people realize. Plus, you’re practically obligated to drink beer while you eat. [Disclaimer: I’m about to make a terribly cheesy rhyme] Cheers to cooking with beers on the Night Shift!

 

Inferior, no-beer-added gnocchi with

superior, beer-enhanced pork chops.

ENTIRELY UNRELATED:

We made some news this week! Check out this Yankee Brew News article in the October/November issue about the rise of Night Shift Brewing and other nanobreweries in New England. Also, take a look at Wednesday’s Everett Independent article on the opening of Night Shift Brewing and Idle Hands Craft Ales in Everett, MA.