I am spending this weekend visiting MM in Orange County. The last time I was here the temperature got up to the high 90’s. Fortunately it has since cooled down, and I am starting to see the tips of the trees turn color along Jamboree Road. It has become my Saturday morning tradition to visit the UCI Farmer’s Market and nearest grocery store while MM either does a quick work out or studies medicine. Randomly, I woke up this morning craving pork chops. My mother used to make delicious pork chops for dinner when I was growing up, and I wanted to recreate something to welcome Autumn to Orange County.
I found this recipe on Cooking Light, and served it with green beans with sliced almonds and herbed roasted potatoes. The pork required only a few ingredients and was pretty simple to prepare. I timed it perfectly with the potatoes and green beans, and MM thought everything tasting very good (though, I’m sure it had something to do with all the butter).
Grilled Herbed Pork Chops with Shallot Butter (serves 4)
- 4 pork chops
- 2 TB olive oil
- 1 TB fresh chives, chopped
- 1 TB fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 TB fresh thyme, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 shallots, chopped
- 1 TB unsalted butter
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 TB chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
If you’re making the potatoes and green beans with this dish, begin by scrubbing the potatoes and setting into a large pot in a single layer (do not turn on stove). Trim and wash green beans and set aside in a strainer to drain water.
Next, season both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper. Combine fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil into a small bowl. Rub mixture onto each side of pork chop and let sit for about 15 minutes to bring to room temperature.
Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the pot of potatoes and set to a high heat (cook as directed in my previous blog post). Set your timer for 30 minutes. At 15 minutes heat a large nonstick skillet and coat with cooking spray. Once hot, add pork chops to pan and cook on each side for 7 minutes.
When timer reaches 5 minutes, begin cooking green beans. Heat a medium nonstick skillet with 1 TB of olive oil. Add some of the chopped shallots and sauté for about a minute. Add the almond slices and green beans and sauté over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes.
Once pork chops have cooked, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes. Add 1 TB of chicken stock to the pan and lower the heat. Scrape up the bits of pork with the chicken stock, then add shallots, lemon zest and 1 TB of unsalted butter. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes, or until the shallots caramelize. Top each chop with the shallot butter and serve immediately alongside potatoes and green beans.
The textures in this meal complemented each other very well; soft potatoes, tender and lean pork chops, and crunchy green beans. I paired this meal with a 2008 Leoness Cellars Mourvedre from Temecula Valley (purchased on my August trip). The wine was slightly sweet with flavors of dark cherry and raspberry, complemented by hints of earthy tobacco, black pepper and spice. This paired well with the natural sweetness in the pork and the caramelized shallots. I would also recommend pairing this dish with a Russian River Pinot Noir or a Merlot blend, as both those wines would bring out similar qualities.
I’ve come to an age where I prefer spending Saturday nights in cooking and drinking wine with MM, and it’s also something I’ve missed since he’s moved to Southern California. So three cheers to autumn, Orange County, and growing up!