Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sage & Balsamic Pork Chops with Creamy Pumpkin Polenta

This recipe came from Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats. I've found quite a few things we like out of this book but I've also learned a lot about cooking from it. Very rarely can I get these recipes done in 30-minutes. The prep time really adds to it. Also Rachel's idea of a serving is huge! Even when I do half a 4 serving recipe it is too much for us. It almost always takes things a lot longer to reduce than she says, unless she is serving really runny sauces. Since I have sage leftover from the saltimbocca this sounded like a great recipe to try. Pork chops have always been a hard thing for us as they usually end up dry so I was hoping this method of cooking would produce a juicier chop.
Sage & Balsamic Pork Chop

3 T olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
salt & pepper
4 1 1/2 inch thick boneless center-cut pork chops
2 1/2 c chicken stock or broth
1 c milk
1 c canned pumpkin puree
1/8 t ground nutmeg
3/4 c quick-cooking polenta
1/2 c grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 T unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375.

Preheat a large, oven-proof skillet over med-high heat with 2 T of the olive oil. In a shallow dish combine the balsamic vinegar, sage, parsley, garlic & remaining 1 T olive oil, salt & pepper. Coat the pork chops & then place them in the skillet & sear the meat on both sides to carmelize, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven to finish off, about 8 minutes, or until the meat is firm to touch but not tough.

While the chops are cooking, in a sauce pot combine chicken stock, milk & pumpkin & season with nutmeg, salt & pepper. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the polenta and stir until it begins to mass together. Add the grated cheese and butter, stirring to combine. Keep in mind that polenta is very forgiving. If it becomes too think, not smooth & creamy, you can always add more warm chicken stock or milk.

Garnish the polenta with extra cheese if you wish.
Serves 4.

Our chops were no where near done in this amount of cooking time. The side that was down in the skillet was but the side facing up was not, perhaps turning them once in the 8 minutes would have helped or perhaps a thinner chop.. Since we had everything else ready to go we microwaved them briefly & of course got dry pork chops. I also felt that you couldn't taste the seasoning on the chops at all. I think marinating them for a bit instead of just coating them would have made a big difference. These are seasonings with a lot of flavor but they didn't show up at all.

I really liked the polenta. At first taste I wasn't sure but ti really grew on me. The pumpkin flavor was really quite subtle but I felt added a lot to something that can be a little tasteless. Matt wasn't as sold as I was but he prefers his polenta in a more solid form & fried. The amount of polenta this recipe made was way too much. I made half the recipe for the two of us & there was probably a third serving leftover. As I mentioned Rachel's servings are huge.

I think I would make the idea of this recipe again but with the changes mentioned above. This recipe did come together within 30 minutes.

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T = Tablespoon
t = teaspoon
c = cup
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