Glazed Pork Chops with Figs and Blue Cheese


Glazed Pork Chops with Figs and Blue Cheese

Why this Recipe works: this dish is quick to make, so it’s suited for a typical weeknight dinner. But the figs and blue cheese dress it up enough to make it suitable for company if you’re feeling social. In the test kitchen, we prefer rib chops over center – cut chops because, without a piece of tenderloin attached, they’re easier to cook. The blue cheese adds rich, salty counterpoints to the honeyed figs, and both provide nice accents to the mild – tasting pork. The pepperiness of the pork and the bay leaf in the glaze and savory notes that help balance the sweetness of the honey. White balasamic vinegar has sweet – sour notes reminiscent of traditional balsamic vinegar, but its lighter color won’t darken the glaze. We found it best to choose a firm blue cheese rather than once that is soft and creamy since the firmer variety is easier to crumble

Ingredients: serve 4
4 bone – in rib or center – cut pork chops (8 to 10 ounces each) salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 small bay leaf
12 fresh figs, halved
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Procedures:
  1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels and season each with salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium – high heat until just smoking. Cook chops until well browned and chops register 145 degrees, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and tent with foil. Discard fat in skillet.
  2. Add wine, honey, vinegar, bay leaf, and ¼ teaspoon salt to skillet and simmer over high heat until frothy, thickened, and a wooden spoon leaves a wake that quickly fills in , about 5 minutes. Add figs to skillet and cook until coated and just heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer figs to plate. Pour any accumulated pork juice into skillet and cook until glaze is syrupy, about 1 minute.
  3. Spoon glaze over pork chops. Sprinkle cheese over figs. Serve with chops.

Smart Shopping: Balsamic vs. White Balsamic vinegar
Balsamic vinegar is produce in Italy white Trebbiano grapes, which are cooked down and concentrated until they’re deep, dark, and rich. The vinegar is then aged for varying periods of time – from as little as three years to over 100 years – in wooden barrels. Many balsamic vinegars contain sulfites, which are added to inhibit the growth of flavor – detracting bacteria. White balsamic vinegar also comes from Italy, but is made by an entirely different process. The grapes undergo pressurized cooking, which prevents caramelization that would effect both flavor and color. White balsamic vinegar is aged only one year in uncharred barrels to further assure both the flavor and color will stay light.

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