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Pork Chops and Pears

I didn’t realize just how often I make this dish until I went to upload the picture.  I have quite a few variations on a theme, here!  It is such a quick and easy dinner that I can get it on the table in under 30 minutes.  It’s also fancy enough to be a company dish!  Ya gotta love it!

This is Lidia’s recipe.  I usually tweak things around a bit, and it’s dinner for two, not four.  She’s a lot more exacting than I am…

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.

So tonight I used a really fun Lingonberry vinegar I bought at Ikea.  And I used red pears – unpeeled.  (Like I’m going to peel pears…)  And the balsamic reduction was just a drizzle of really good 15 year old balsamic.  It really was fun flavors.  That’s pretty much the beauty of Lidia’s style of cooking – a few really good ingredients speaking for themselves.

30 minutes.  I have to admit I was lazy and didn’t cook brown rice tonight.  Oh well.  I ate all of my spinach, though.  Actually, I cleaned my plate.   I almost took a picture of that, but decided that would be silly and I really didn’t need to go quite over the top.  Tonight.  Who knows what tomorrow might bring!

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