Friday, February 3, 2012

Food Friday--Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar

I had a couple of pork loin chops that I needed to use up, but we'd just had pork a couple of days before. So I wanted something a little different, but I'd also been on my feet a lot that day so I was looking for something fast for which I already had all the ingredients. I went to my Mastercook software and did a quick search, and found a great recipe in one of the pre-loaded cookbooks that's definitely a keeper!

I made it straight-up this time, but I think next time I might try using fresh lemon zest instead. The lemon pepper seasoning I used tasted just a little stale to me, although my husband didn't notice. (I checked later and yep, should've used it a year ago!) I think fresh would be nicer, in any case. I also debated adding a little dried ground ginger--didn't this time, might next time. I usually don't start messing with a recipe until I've tried it as-is once. In any case, I definitely recommend this one. (It's apparently an older recipe because I tried the find the website so I could provide a link but the site no longer seems to exist.)
Pork Chops with Balsamic Vinegar
(based on one from Swift and Company)

Servings: 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes

2 boneless center pork loin chops (1 1/2" thick)
1 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp chicken broth
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp butter

1. Pat chops dry. Coat with lemon pepper seasoning to taste.

2. Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chops; brown on first side approximately 8 minutes; turn and cook 7 minutes more; make sure both sides are nicely browned and it's cooked through. (Internal temperature should be 145 degrees.)

3. Remove chops from pan and keep warm. Add broth and vinegar to skillet; cook, stirring until syrupy (about 1-2 minutes). Stir in butter, blend well. Spoon sauce over chops. Serve immediately.

  • Although the recipe is two servings, the sauce I ended up with could've been enough for four. It's a strong flavor so you don't need much.
  • I corrected a couple of seeming errors in the recipe (or, rather, perhaps I just didn't trust theirs--but my corrections seemed to work well in any case).

And on another note...

Last weekend, my mother-in-law and I took a wine tasting class at the New York Wine and Culinary Center in Canandaigua (if you're local and have never been there--it's a must-do!). In the class, we tried three different NYS wines--a chardonnay, one that's a bordeaux but can't be called such because it's not from France, and a desert wine--a late harvest white blend. We tasted each wine first by itself, and then were given three appetizer-sized dishes: an egg/cheese quiche, braised beef, and pumpkin pie. We then proceeded to taste each dish with each of the three wines; in other words, the quiche first with chardonnay, then with the red, then with the dessert wine...then moving on to the briased beef with the chardonnay, then the red, then...etc. I've done pairings before and it's always fascinating how completely different wine and food can taste together. I didn't like the red much at all on it's own, for example, but then that was my top pick of which I liked best paired with both the quiche and the braised beef--it was great with both of those! The other interesting thing was when the instructor had everyone raise their hands for which pairing they'd liked best in each category, and we were across the board. So the point of the class is, don't lock into certain assumptions, and know that different people at your table may have different preferences, so it's not a bad idea to have several selections at dinner parties.

That being said, taking what we'd learned in the class, I paired a light Pinot Noir with the pork recipe above. Tasty! I could've gone Reisling as well. Might do that next time since my husband and I both decided this recipe is a keeper!