To prepare the brine, in a large bowl or nonreactive container add brown sugar, salt, fennel seed, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and sage to 6 cups hot water. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Add pork chops and additional cold water until chops are fully submerged. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 12 hours). Discard brine after use.
On the day of preparation, preheat grill or prepare coals and preheat oven to 450°. Mark chops on the grill on both sides, about 5 minutes total. (Alternatively, sear chops in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat, searing evenly on all sides.) Once chops are marked or browned, place in a roasting pan and roast until pork chops reach 130° (using an instant-read meat thermometer placed in the center), checking after 20 minutes. Let rest for at least 8 minutes before serving.
Meanwhile, prepare the soffritto. Sauté pancetta over medium heat in 1 tablespoon olive oil until fat is rendered. Add garlic and stir until mixture is fragrant. Add vegetables and thyme, and sauté until vegetables are softened. Add cannellini beans and chicken broth, making a thickened stew-like consistency, adding more broth if too thick. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and add butter. Season with salt to taste.
To serve, divide radicchio among 6 warm dinner plates. Ladle soffritto over radicchio and scatter the honeyed onions. Place chops atop vegetables. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.
WINE PAIRING: 2012 Isole e Olena Chianti Classico DOCG, Tuscany, Italy.
Brian’s pork chops will be lovely with this classic and elegant but lighter-style Chianti. It’s loaded with aromas of beautiful dark red stone fruits like plums and cherries. On the palate, expect lively and pure red fruit flavors with interesting hints of menthol, warm vanilla and leather. This is a great wine to cozy up to and to enjoy with the cooler autumn weather.
—Eric Taylor, Bottles Fine Wines & Spirits, Providence
Recipe by Chef/Co-owner Brian Kingsford, Bacaro, Providence