I know what you're thinking. Weeknight dinner and the culinary term reduction are two words that do not go together. But I double-dare swear that they do. This recipe is so perfect for any night that is filled with reckless activities caused by our busy and crazy lives. This recipe will take you back to the simple life you crave.
You cannot get this from a box, you cannot get this from an ox. You cannot find this here or there, but you can make this in your underwear...or something like that.
I mean are you tired of your pathetic nightly dinners ? Does your family dread the dreaded chicken recipe again? Have you been wanting your inner-chef-dom-tendencies to shine through without much effort? This is your lucky day.
This simplistic, tasty, somewhat-savory, somewhat-sweet dinner is for you. It is by far the most effortless (well, I guess McDonald's would be more effortless) weeknight meal you could possibly throw together. And it's so good, you could even serve it for Sunday night dinner. After making this, no one will believe you've running around like a maniac all day.
I've always hated pork chops. They are always dry, tough and just blah. However, the quick cooking time coupled with this sauce keeps this dish moist and delicious. No one will believe you made this sauce from scratch. NO ONE!
So c'mon, let's give it a try. You say, "I can't". I have three kids at baseball practice at three different fields. No problem. One kid at gymnastics and another at the tutor. No worries. Two kids at the library, one science project to help with, four kids at judo and a blog to write. I've got your back. Let's get started.
Here are the ingredients to this simplistic meal. Have I convinced you yet that it's simple? So get out your pork chops (boneless, pork loin thin sliced chops) (they are at your grocery store, trust me), dried figs, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, shallot, beef broth (or stock), cornstarch, salt & pepper for seasoning. Seriously, that's it. Onward!
Let's do some recipe prep before we start cooking. This is Mr. Shallot. He loves reading autobiographical novels (Life As An Onion; an Ode to Underground Living is a favorite), taking long walks on the beach and reciting poetry in dark smoky clubs. He adores reality TV and drinking French wine.
Now even though we have developed a long and enduring relationship with Mr. Shallot, he had some terrible and really nasty things to say about Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell from American Idol. These comments were not acceptable to the person who writes this blog. I'm sorry to say we had to sacrifice him (see above picture). Chop him very, very finely, his comments were completely out of line and down right RUDE!
Okay, let's have a vote. Who thinks little Miss Sun-Maid needs to update her look. Maybe a bob haircut and a tricked out bonnet?
Anyway, go grab the figs, you know the ones you bought two months ago to put in a salad dressing recipe and you used two of them. They're in your pantry, right over there, next to the prunes...yeah grab em'.
Yes, I know, I cannot imagine a more un-appetizing picture. Now these little guys might be the little ugly-ducklings of the culinary world but they redeem themselves in the flavor they bring to this dish. I promise. You will need 9 dried figs.
Now because I need to amuse myself at all times the figs and I decided to have a contest. The stakes were high, the losers would become gastronomic roadkill.
It didn't go well for any of them. And they were all very sore losers. Chop, chop!
Now your prepped. So season your chops with salt and pepper and preheat a nonstick skillet on med-high heat.
Grab the olive oil. This is hands down my favorite brand of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It really makes a difference in cooking and ESPECIALLY in salads. It has that really fruity taste that "real chefs" are always talking about. Plus I like saying, "De Cecco" with a thick Italian accent; it annoys the Wild Boar to no end.
Add 2 Tablespoons to the preheated skillet. Glug, glug.
Now, add your chops to the pan. Only do four at a time, remove and add any others you might have; this will keep the temperature of the pan from falling too low.
Fry them on one side for 2 minutes and flip over for another 2 minutes. The goal here is not to cook them all the way through, you will finish that later. Now remove them from the pan and keep warm.
Throw nasty Mr. Shallot into the pan with the olive oil left over from cooking the chops. Cook the shallot until softened, about 3 minutes. Shallots everywhere will think twice before they diss reality TV show personalities. But don't pity Mr. Shallot. what he said was very, very malicious and rooted in jealousy.
Find the beef broth. If you happen to have beef stock this would be to die for. But let's face it that is probably not a reality for most of us so grab your stash of broth from the pantry.
Add 2 cups of beef broth to the pan with the shallots.
Now get your bottle of balsamic vinegar. This has to be the stickiest thing in my pantry. I had to wipe it off before taking this crappy photo.
Add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar.
Remember the figs? Well add your chopped figs to the sauce. These will soften and taste divine. Don't say you don't like figs. These do not taste like fresh figs from a tree. I hate those too.
Let the sauce come to a boil, simmering until reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
Now let's thicken things up with King of the thin sauce fixer upper...Cornstarch...my magical kitchen friend.
Add 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch to a small bowl. Add a small amount of cold water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved with no clumps.
Slowly pour the dissolved cornstarch into the already reduced sauce a little at a time stirring to incorporate. Don't pour it in all at once, to avoid clumping. Let cook for one minute and watch it thicken...it's very exciting.
Add your chops back to the sauce and cover the pan to finish cooking; about 2-3 minutes or until done. Remove the chops from the pan and pour the sauce over the top.
If you think your kids won't like the figs or shallots just pick them off like I do for mine. The sauce is so yummy...They. Will. Love. It. And you will once again be proclaimed a kitchen god.
Look at that sauce...I'm telling you, it's a happy night at my house when I make this. It seriously takes about 20-25 minutes to throw this together. Unless, you talk to your food like I do. Then it takes longer. I know, I have problems.
Boneless Pork Chops in a Shallot-Fig Reduction Sauce
I hope you all enjoy it and remember this is an easy and fast dinner.
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