I know we are days away from the first day of summer but a recent string of damp grey days has me in the mood for a bit of comfort food. If you share my feelings then you are really going to love these pork chops and pears cooked in cider.
I made this recipe with a couple of chops that would put a smile on Fred Flintstone's face. The chops came straight from the farm via Farmstr. They were porky perfection and worth the few minutes of extra cooking time! The trick to evenly cooked juicy chops is to allow your meat to come to room temperature before you ease it into your screaming hot pan.
This recipe edges into what I consider splurge territory. To make a meal more suitable for our nutritional needs I serve this dish with a pile of roasted vegetables or a cauliflower and sweet potato mash, and a colorful salad.
A few notes about the ingredients: Readers in the Puget Sound area should begin their ingredient gathering over at Farmstr.com - you'll find all sorts of seasonal farm direct ingredients. If you can't lay your hands on prehistoric sized pork chops don't fret, as much as we enjoyed these Farmstr chops, this dish is slightly easier to cook with four smaller chops.
The herbs I used came from my own garden. The rosemary and thyme are a classic combination but other herbs with woody stems can be used in place or one or both of them. Sage, for instance, would be delicious all by itself along with the pears and pork.
When you are selecting the cider look for one that is on the sweeter side. The one I used was an apple cider whose label boasted the flavors of brown sugar. It was very sweet, much more so than I would want to drink, but it was just right for this dish because it brought out the fruit flavor. Since I didn't want to drink the cider I had enough to make this dish a few times, not a problem.
I hope your family loves this cozy dish as much as ours does.
Cider Glazed Pork Chops with Pears
- 4 bone-in pork chops (2 lbs, ¾- to 1-inch thick, 6 to 8 ounces each)
- 3 about 1 lb large pears, such as Bosc, Anjou, Red Anjou, or Concorde
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 large rosemary sprigs
- 6 thyme
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ cup pear or apple cider sweet not dry
- ½ cup vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Lay out the pork chops and allow them to come to room temperature, about 15 to 30 minutes. Core the pears and slice them into ⅛ wedges.
- Peel and thinly slice the cloves of garlic. Heat the olive oil, sliced garlic, thyme and rosemary sprigs over medium heat in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan. Sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and the olive oil is infused with flavors of garlic and herbs. Closely monitor the cooking, garlic burns easily turning the flavor bitter. Take the pan off the heat and remove the garlic chips to a paper towel lined dish. Discard the herbs (its okay if there are little bits left in the pan).
- Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with a bit of salt and a bit more freshly ground black pepper. Return the pan to the stove over high heat, reduce the heat if the oil begins to smoke.When the pan is hot place the chops in the pan in a single layer and cook until nicely browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the chops and brown on the second side, another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the chops to a plate (they are not fully cooked yet).
- Add the pears to the pan and cook them until they begin to caramelize and soften a bit, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and nestle the chops into the pear wedges. Continue cooking until the chops have cooked through, about 5 - 10 minutes.
- Transfer the chops and pears to a serving platter and remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan.
- Pour the cider in the pan and let the liquid simmer over medium high heat until it has reduced by half, stir frequently and remove any browned bits that may have been stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and simmer until reduced by half again. Add the butter, stirring until melted, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the pears and chops and garnish with some of the garlic chips.
To serve larger chops, allow the meat to rest for 10 or more minutes before slicing in ¾ inch pieces. Serve the slices nestled among the pear slices and covered with sauce.
Farmstr provided the pork featured in this post. I can't say enough good things about this rapidly growing company. I am proud to work with them and am looking forward to continuing to report on their success.
Please visit farmstr.com to learn more about their mission to connect farmers directly with customers through their easy to use on-line market place.