I always like it when I have a semblence of a plan for dinner when I leave the house in the morning.  I had pulled pork chops out of the freezer before going to bed last night and had an idea I might make Lidia’s Pork Chops with Pears and a balsamic reduction.

Lidia’s Pork Chops with Pears and Caramelized Red Onions

  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 center-cut pork rib chops, each about 12 ounces and 1 1/4 inches thick
  • 1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 ripe but firm Bosc pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey

In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat to a gentle boil and boil until the vinegar is syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet with a flameproof handle over medium-high heat. Whack garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and scatter over oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until brown, about 2 minutes. Lay the pork chops in and cook until the underside is browned, about 6 minutes. Remove and reserve the garlic cloves if they become more than deep golden brown before the chops are fully browned.

Turn the chops, tuck the onion wedges into the pan and continue cooking until the second side of the chops is browned, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. About halfway through browning the second side, tuck the pear wedges in between the chops.

Stir the red wine vinegar and honey together in a small bowl, until the honey is dissolved. Pour the mixture into the skillet and bring to a vigorous boil. Return the garlic cloves to the skillet if you have removed them. Place the skillet in the oven and roast until onions and pears are tender and the juices from the pork are a rich, syrupy dark brown, about 30 minutes. Once or twice during roasting, turn the chops and redistribute the onions and pears. Handle the skillet carefully — it will be extremely hot.

Remove skillet from the oven. Place a chop in the center of each warmed serving plate. Check the seasoning of the onion-pear mixture, adding salt and pepper if necessary. Spoon the pears, onion and pan juices around the chops. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar reduction around the edge of the plate.

Makes 4 servings.

While at work, though, I thought that some gorgonzola cheese instead of the basamic reduction would probably be good, so, when I got home, I followed the basic premise of the recipe – the pork chops, red onions, and pears, but when juuuuust about done, I crumbled some gorgonzola over everything and then drizzled some 10 year old balsamic over all.

WOW!  The gorgonzola really played off the pears and onions well.  And the little hint of balsamic brought it all together.  It was yummy.

Fresh green beans and Carolina Plantation Aromatic Rice finished the plate.

The Carolina Rice is a bit of an un-wedding gift from our friends Mike and Barbara down in South Carolina.  It should have been thrown at the wedding-that-wasn’t (even though we explained to them that at our advanced ages, the last thing we needed were fertility rituals.)  It’s a medium grain rice with a great flavor.  Definitely better eaten than thrown.

They also sent up a nice big bag of Carolina Plantation grits.  I’m working on a Sunday Breakfast idea…