Gather 'round kids — it's time for another episode of Booze and Pork with Liz and Stephanie. This week, it was butterflied pork chops with figs and balsamic vinegar, gnocchi and swiss chard. The booze portion of the program was the last rosé of the season, and plenty of it.
[I was thinking about this post last night while I was falling asleep and decided that if I ever have a food show, I'm going to call it Booze and Pork with Stephanie and it will be exactly that. With swearing.]
Liz and I had our little back and forth about recipes ideas earlier in the week and this gorgeous creature won out. So, I went off to the butcher on Wednesday, looking for cutlets. They didn't have any, but offered to butterfly a couple of gorgeous center-cut loin chops (I think). Is that all a cutlet is? School me! Here they are browning in some olive oil:
After couple of minutes, I flipped them over. We used half the meat called for in the recipe, but made the full measure of sauce. And MAN, AM I GLAD WE DID.
They got a few more minutes on this side, until they were cooked through. I removed them to a plate, and covered them with one of Liz's delightful vintage whaddayacallits — a big domed lid to keep the heat in.
Pork out, butter and chopped onions in.
When they were tender, I added 2 T of balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and scrape up all of that delicious brown stuff. After it evaporated, I added a container of Liz's homemade chicken stock (probably more than the cup indicated in the recipe, but not hugely more) and eight figs, peeled and cut into sixths.
That got cooked down for a while, while Liz sauteed some swiss chard and we cooked the (store-bought) gnocchi. Then the cream and a little more vinegar went into the sauce.
The pork, along with the juices that had collected on the plate, went in to heat through:
After the pork had some quality time in the sauce, I took it out and let the gnocchi sit and soak it up. At some point Liz had added parsley. Were we already drinking? Yes, we were!
We each ate one piece of pork and a serving of gnocchi and sauce and a big ol' heap of chard for the first go-round, but for the second serving, decided to cut the pork up and put it and some gnocchi and quite a lot of sauce in a bowl and slurp it all up with a spoon.
I'm not sure how we still had a full bottle of wine at this point in the evening, but it wasn't around long. Also, OMG this was delicious. The figs broke down in the sauce almost completely, which added extra body and flavor and everything was perfectly balanced, with the vinegar keeping any sweetness in check. Also, it came together very quickly — under 20 minutes start to finish, I'd say.
Highly recommended. This one's going in the keeper binder.
Pork with Figs and Balsamic Vinegar
2 butterflied pork loin chops (judging by what my total at the butcher was, I think the two together were a little less than one pound)
1 T. olive oil
1 T butter
2 very small red onions or half of a normal-sized one, minced
3 T balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 c. chicken broth
8 ripe figs, peeled and cut into sixths
1/2 c. heavy cream
Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and sauté until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Cut into the thickest piece and check for doneness. When cooked through, remove pork to a plate and cover with lid or foil.
Melt 1 T butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until tender. Add 2 T. vinegar. Simmer until vinegar evaporates, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of skillet. Add chicken broth and simmer until mixture is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add figs and cream. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar and any accumulated juices from pork. Put pork in back in the pan. Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes longer. Add parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
[originally posted on my old food blog 9/26/2008. I made this once with dried figs and it was a bit sweeter, but still awfully delicious.]