Nothing beats a good pork chop. For a long time, I forgot that they existed. I must have gone years without eating a pork chop! I’m really glad that I rediscovered them though, because they’re a really easy weeknight option. In this preparation, the chops are beautifully browned before being glazed with a luscious balsamic reduction. I’m not normally the kid of girl who will happily gnaw on a bone, but I’ll admit that I picked these up and made sure I nibbled off every delicious morsel that was to be had.
Something magical happens when you brine a pork chop. The brine penetrates the meat and flavors it throughout, while keeping it nice and juicy. It also gives it a slight saltiness that reminds me almost of a slab of bacon (but in a much less gross way than eating a slab of bacon for dinner would be!). The sugar in the brine also helps the chops get a nice color on them when you sear them. It’s best if you allow the chops to brine for 24 hours, but even an hour makes a huge difference in the final dish.
For a nice fall meal, I served these balsamic glazed pork chops with wilted baby spinach and some potatoes, apples, and onions that I sauteed and then let soften in chicken stock.
Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
Adapted from Foods of the World: San Francisco
- 3 Tbs coarse sea salt
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 Tbs dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 4-oz pork chops, trimmed
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
To prepare brine: Combine sea salt, sugar, thyme, garlic, pepper, and 4 cups of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and allow salt and sugar to dissolve. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Place the pork chops in a container with a lid. Pour the cooled brine over the chops, cover, and refrigerate at least one hour, or up to 24.
When ready to cook: Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry. Heat a heavy pan over high heat. When hot, add the oil. When the oil is sizzling, add the pork chops (don’t let them touch in the pan) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip and cook for another 10 minutes or until center is no longer pink and internal temperature of at least 150. Transfer the chops to a 200-degree oven to keep warm.
Pour off any fat and return pan to the stove. melt half the butter and sautee the shallot until softened. Add the vinegar. It will very quickly come to a boil – allow to boil about 1 minute or until reduced by about half. Add the stock and 1/4 cup water, raise heat to high, and cook until reduced by about half. Reduce heat to low and stir in the remaining butter. Add the pork chops back to the pan, and cook for a minute on each side. Transfer chops to a serving plate and spoon remaining sauce over the top.
Approx. 261calories, 19 grams fat, 0 grams fiber, 7.6 grams protein