The Plate: Piedmont Restaurant's Pork Chops with Agrodolce and Pumpkin Puree


“We are right in the center of Durham, but we source most of our ingredients whether it be pork, chicken, vegetables, or fruit from our farm in Hillsborough. Every month, in addition to our regular menu, we offer a four-course tasting menu built around an in-season ingredient. This month, it’s peppers. Next month, it’s heirloom grains, then sweet potatoes, then winter squash. Here, we use peppers in agrodolce, an Italian sauce that basically translates to sweet and sour. There’s always a sweet component in this case, maple syrup that contrasts a vinegary component. It works really well with the rich, decadent flavor of pork.”

—John May, Executive Chef, 
Piedmont Restaurant

Pork Chops with Pepper Agrodolce and Pumpkin Puree

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Serves: 6

Agrodolce

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, sliced

salt

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

2 hot peppers, minced

2 ounces maple syrup

4 ounces apple cider vinegar

Heat oil over medium heat, and add garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook and stir until translucent. Stir in peppers. Add the syrup and allow it to bubble, then add the vinegar and reduce for two minutes.

Pumpkin Puree

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and diced

2 ounces ginger, minced

1 ounce thyme leaves, picked

4 ounces rice wine vinegar

½ teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon salt

3 ounces cream (optional)

Heat oil over medium-high heat and cook the pumpkin, covered, for about 15 minutes. Add ginger, thyme, vinegar, chili flakes, and salt, and continue to cook, covered, for another five minutes. Transfer to a blender and puree. Add cream if needed.

To assemble, grill, roast, or sear pork chops to desired doneness. On each plate, smear warm pumpkin puree, place pork chop on top, then pour hot agrodolce over.


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