School is out and it's suppose to be summer weather. You know, barbeque's, watermelon, the ice cream man -with whom I have a love/hate relationship- I mean why is it he always comes right at DINNER TIME?? You know the drill - the kids all get that wild look in their eyes like they have seen a grizzly bear slash LeBron sighting slash offer for free passes to carnival rides. What? You need $3 for an ice cream bar? One ice cream bar? Right now? Hurry, heeeee's leeeeaviiiiing. Good Grief. Ok.
It's suppose to be that time of year, but it's been raining like we live in Silverdale, Washington (my hometown). So instead of bbqing last week, I made comfort food. Pork Chops. I bought these from Costco, because they looked so plump and delish, who could resist? They were so thick, I could have sliced them in half (width) and still had a meaty chop. There were only 4 of us home that night, so we ate leftovers the next day. The day after that, I sliced and chopped the meat, and added some bbq sauce and served it up on some big buns. Home of the big bun, that's us. Sorry, inside joke.
Absolutely LOVED the Balsamic Cherry Sauce. I love sweet and salt or spice together. I can hardly eat a fish taco without mango-pineapple salsa. When I made this, my boys turned their noses up at the sauce. They both protested the cherries with
"MOM, I don't like fruit on my meat." Whatever. How can you not like fruit on your meat?? Who raised you???
Anyway... any civilized person with good taste will love this recipe. It's really, really simple, took me 1/2 hour start to finish, including making a salad, and cooking a vegetable and rice.
Pork Loin Chops with Balsamic Cherry Sauce
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4-5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup cooking marsala
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 cinnamon stick
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
3/4 cup dried sour cherries (not craisins)
1 tablespoon cornstarch stirred with 1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
8 3/4 inch thick boneless pork loin chops (2-2 1/2 lbs total)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Make the sauce:
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until reduced to a glaze, about 4 minutes. Careful not to burn glaze. Add marsala, shallots and cinnamon stick, bring to boil and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup. About 8-10 minutes.
Add stock and cherries, bring to a simmer, and simmer uncovered, until cherries plump, about 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch mixture, add to sauce, and simmer uncovered, whisking occasionally for about 2 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick, then stir in lime juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cover. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of water or apple juice to thin a bit.
Pat the chops dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoons vegetable oil in a 10-12 inch heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat until just smoking. Cook half of the chops, turning once, until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer meat to a platter and loosely cover with foil. Cook the remaining chops in remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Serve chops with sauce spooned over.
-If you buy the mammoth 1 1/2 " Pork Loin Chops at Costco, and you don't cut them in half, cook for about 8-10 minutes on each side. Check to see if cooked in middle before serving.
-I added a bit more Balsamic to the sauce, and about 2 tablespoons water.