A tasty dish inspired by a fan!
PORK CHOPS WITH SAUSAGE AND PEPPERS
1/4 cup olive oil (divided)
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage (removed from casings if necessary)
1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup reserved pepperoncini brine
1 jar (12 ounces) pepperoncini peppers (sliced, about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (leaves only, roughly chopped)
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
4 center cut bone-in pork chops (1 1/2-inches thick each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up with a wooden spoon or a potato masher, about 7-9 minutes. Add the tomatoes, brine, pepperoncini, oregano, honey, and season with salt if needed. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and the sausage is cooked through.
Add fennel seeds to a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind to a coarse powder. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and ground fennel.
Preheat a griddle or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pork chops on both sides with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place on the griddle. Allow to cook until a deep golden brown crust has formed on both sides, about 5-6 minutes per side, and a meat thermometer registers 145ºF. Remove from the griddle and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Stir any collected pork juices into the sausage mixture.
Serve the pork chops with the sausage and tomato mixture spooned over the top.
Tip: Substitute your favorite pickled peppers with their brine to this sauce!