Pork Chops Agrodolce

Pork Chops Agrodolce

I have seen this recipe many times – on the Williams-Somoma website, Giada de Laurentiis, Mario Batali – and all had a certain appeal. That wonderful combination of sweet and sour. And that sweet and sour comes from two of my favorite ingredients – balsamic vinegar and honey! What could be better? Oh, one thing – it’s so quick to make! It’s one of those meals you can do last minute if on a work night you decide to torture yourself and invite a friend around for dinner!

Ingredients

Best part, it’s just a few ingredients, and pantry ingredients really. Couple this with potatoes or couscous and a salad and you are DONE!

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, each about 1 lb. and 1 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 C balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t minced fresh thyme
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 2 T unsalted butter

Seasoning Pork

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper.

Cooking Pork

In a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chops and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the honey, vinegar and thyme and cook until the liquid is thickened and reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer.

NOTE: The balsamic vinegar gets very dark, very quickly, and will go from dark to burned even quicker, so be careful!

Basting

Return the pork chops to the pan, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, turning the chops occasionally and basting with the sauce, for about 15 minutes more for medium doneness. Transfer the chops to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until the sauce is syrupy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Bourbon Apple Pork Chops

So … today’s posting is a tale of woe …

(It’s always something, isn’t it!?)

I normally do my grocery shopping for the week on Sunday. I pick my recipes, see what’s on sale, clip my coupons, gather my bags, and toddle off. I don’t give much thought to what I am going to cook on what night.

UNTIL …

Yesterday, I turn on the oven to bake some lovely orange roughy … Everything ready to go into my preheated oven … that is STONE COLD. Open the oven, thought of sticking my head in, but that wouldn’t really be a solution, where’s the pilot light, the pilot light … no pilot light. Some sort of new fangled electronic ignition that, according to my Google search, breaks constantly.

No oven. F*^K.

The fish was easy. The recipe for the pork chops, not so easy.

And along came my friends at Relish Magazine and Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen. One pot, on the stove, fabulous and quick! All my favorite things! Served with egg noodles and green beans, dinner was ready before anyone could complain they were hungry!

  • 4  (8-ounce) bone-in pork chops, about 1-inch thick (about 2 pounds)
  • 2  teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1  tablespoon olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1  shallot, minced (1 to 2 tablespoons)
  • 1  tart apple, such as Granny Smith, Braeburn or Pippin, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2  cup applesauce
  • 1  cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 or 3 T Bourbon (optional)

Rinse, pat dry and sprinkle both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon thyme, pressing lightly so seasonings adhere.

Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until sizzling hot. Add meat and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side, turning only once, to brown. Transfer to a platter and cover loosely to keep warm.

Add butter to pan and heat until foamy. Add shallot and thyme and cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes.Add apple, applesauce, broth and ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to skillet scraping up browned bits. Cook, stirring, until apple is tender and sauce reduces slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.

NOTE: While they suggest to add a glug or so of Bourbon, they didn’t say where, so I punted and added it here!

Return meat, along with any juices that have collected at the bottom of the plate, to pan and cook just until thoroughly heated, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and serve warm with sauce and apples spooned over the chops.

NOTE: This was really simple to pull together and really yummy. I thought there would be too much liquid, so I let it bubble away a little bit longer to reduce it more and thicken up.

Burgers al Pastor

I love burgers!

I love tacos al pastor!

How thrilled was I when flipping through my DVR’d collection of cooking shows I saw Marcela Valladolid‘s Mexican Made Easy making BURGERS AL PASTOR!

To quote a recent crazy person – WINNING!

Oh, wait! It gets better! Marcela had super duper burger guy Spike Mendelsohn making these fabulous burgers with her!

Now, between Marcela, the ingredients, Spike and the absolute love in our house for burgers and tacos al pastor, this was a burger that HAD to be made!

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded and soaked
  • 2 t crumbled dried marjoram
  • 2 t crumbled dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 small white onion, chopped, divided
  • 1/2 C sweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 2 pounds extra-lean ground pork
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 8 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • 1 C fresh cilantro leaves

NOTE: If you can’t find the guajillo chilis, ancho chilis or pasilla negro chilis will work. The guajillo chile comes from drying a mirasol chile and it has a mild to slight heat. I soaked the chilis in warm water for about 20 minutes.

Drain the soaked chiles very well and put them in a blender with the marjoram, oregano, garlic, 1/4 of the chopped onion and the pineapple juice and puree until smooth. Add the salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

NOTE: I used the food processor. Easier clean up and same effect! And besides, the blender and I are not friends any more!

Place the ground pork in large bowl and pour the marinade on top. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

NOTE: The meat is now BRIGHT red. Don’t be alarmed!

While the meat and marinade is mingling, peel and core and slice the pineapple.

NOTE: Try to but a pineapple that will be as wide as your burger or buns once sliced. I was able to remove the core with a donut hole cutter.

After 30 minutes or so, divide the pork mixture into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a 1/2-inch thick patty.

NOTE: Your hands will now be bright red! No worries! It washes right off!

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.

NOTE: I did these outside on the grill. Make sure you lightly oil the grill or these will stick. The sugar in the pineapple juice does carmelize, so no worries about the grill marks!

Working in batches, grill the burgers until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer the burgers to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Let rest for about 8 minutes.

Brush the grill with a little more oil and grill the pineapple slices until golden brown, 2 minutes per side.

NOTE: GRILL HOT!! I put the oil on a paper towel and use tongs to oil the grill. BE CAREFUL!

Spread 1 teaspoon mayonnaise on the cut sides of each bun and warm on the grill about 2 minutes, cut-side down.

Build the burger time! Burgers onto the bottom half of the bun. Next comes the grilled pineapple, then cilantro and chopped onion. I added a little extra OOMPH here with avocado cream (I’ll post that recipe later). A squeeze of lime doesn’t hurt here! Top with the other half of the bun. Dive in!

These are slightly spicy and sweet at the same time. Your first look at this may cause a raised eyebrow or a skeptical look, but these ingredients work in perfect harmony. This burger is AMAZING! This is a burger that will appear here MANY times over the summer!

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