Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yes, your meat can be too thick - Butterflied Pork Chops with Fig-Pinot Noir Glaze

When you are faced with the stress of getting dinner on the table in a hurry after a late night at work, you tend to run into little challenges. I recently stumbled home around 8pm after a full day determined to pound out a quick simple meal based on whatever happened to be in the fridge. My only meat option on hand - double thick boneless pork chops - would ordinarily take about 30 minutes to cook due to their size. I wanted to cut the time in half, so I tried my hand at butterflying.

Its a simple idea, but one that I don't do often due to my lack of confidence with my own knife skills. Take a thick piece of meat, cut through it at it's hemisphere (parallel to the board) to within 1/2 an inch of the opposite edge and open it up. Suddenly, you have something thinner and faster cooking. After successfully opening up my chops, I needed to figure out how to put some flavor in the boring other white meat. J the BF suggested smothering them in onions and serving them with apple sauce - a classic presentation, but this was my one moment to be creative for the day, so I decided to take a little more risk. I found a cheap bottle of Pinot Noir in the wine rack and a jar of fig preserves in the fridge. I even had a few shallots on hand. Combined with simple spinach salad, I had an easy, but elegant meal, on the table relatively quickly. Here is the recipe as I recall it, but you may need to play with the amounts to get the flavor balanced to your taste.

Butterflied Pork Chops with Fig & Pinot Noir Glaze


2 1.5 - 2 inch thick Boneless Pork Chops - Butterflied
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
Kosher Salt and Coarse Ground Pepper (to taste)
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Shallot - finely diced
1/2 cup Pinot Noir wine
2-3 TBLS Fig Preserves
1 tsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp Dijon Mustard


1) Season Pork Chops with cayenne, salt and pepper

2) Heat Olive Oil in medium saute pan on medium-high heat

3) Pan cook Pork Chops until both sides are well browned and meat is done (aim 145 for medium - 160 for well done is preferred from a safety angle) - about 7 minutes/side. Place cooked chops on a platter and tent with foil

4) Stir the shallots in the hot pan for about 1 minute until softened and slightly browned. Pour in the wine and scrape pan to de-glaze and remove browned bits from pan.

5) Stir in the fig preserves, brown sugar and the mustard until melted and dissolved. Bring mixture to a boil and reduce liquid by half until slightly thick glaze forms. Reduce heat; Season sauce with salt and pepper.

6) Place chops and any reserved juices from the platter into the pan with the glaze. Turn the chops a few times to coat and heat for about 2 minutes.

Serve with sauce spooned over the meat and enjoy.

No comments: