Grilled Pork Chops with Balsamic Cherries

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As the Summer of 2020 is quickly drawing to a close, I know that many of us probably have hit “the cooking wall” during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and it’s okay. We have to remind ourselves that everything does not have to perfect, as we are all looking for easier ways to prepare meals and break through the doldrums of being at home.

The one comfort I do find in my every day life can be found in my kitchen. Cooking has always served as my therapy in one form of another. With a little imagination, there is endless combination of proteins and produce that can grace your table. And if you like to eat seasonally, summer fruits like cherries, peaches and melon can take center stage in sweet and savory dishes.

This recipe is easy and only takes five ingredients and takes advantage of common pantry items like balsamic vinegar and olive oil. You can use bone in or boneless pork chops. I prefer bone in chops as they are less likely to dry out on the grill. Pork goes well with just about any type of fruit. Feel free to mix it up a little by using peaches, apples, blueberries, black berries or even strawberries, if you like.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups of fresh cherries, pitted and cut in halves
4 bones pork chops
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium heat.

In a small bowl, add the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Ass the cherries and toss to coat. Allow the cherries to stand at room temperature and marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Pat the pork chops dry with clean paper towels. Brush the pork chops all over with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season both sides with salt and pepper, to taste.

Place the pork chops on the grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until thoroughly cooked. Using an instant read thermometer inserted into each pork chop, the temperature of the meat should be 145 °F. If you are using bone-in pork chops, cook them for 6-8 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop registers 145º F, as well.

Using tongs, remove the chops from the grill and place on serving platter, allowing them to rest for at least 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon the cherry mixture over the pork chops and garnish with parsley.

Cook’s Notes:
Fresh bing cherries were used for this recipe, but any variety of sweet cherry will also work in this dish. I find that a little bit of sweetness goes particularly well with pork dishes.

If you are only able to find sour cherries, it is recommended that you add one teaspoon of sugar to the sauce as it reduces. This dish tastes great with either fresh or frozen cherries, so use fresh if they are in season and if you are still craving this dish in the dead of winter, it is perfectly fine to use frozen cherries.

If you do not have any parsley on hand, herbs like thyme,rosemary or tarragon would work beautifully in this dish.

Also, you can substitute the pork with chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts.

Alternatively, you can dredge the pork chops in seasoned flour and shallow pan fry until golden brown.

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Basque Roasted Chicken Thighs with Sweet Bell Peppers

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Chicken gets a Spanish spin, thanks to a sprinkling of smoked paprika and splash of sherry vinegar in this easy gluten-free dinner. You can roast the chicken and peppers on a sheet pan or a cast iron skillet, and either method will make for an easy clean up in the kitchen.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
8 oz mini sweet peppers, halved and seeded
1 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 pounds small bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
¼ cup smoked ham, diced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ cup chopped parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. To a large bowl, add the oil, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper. Add the peppers, onion, chicken, and ham and toss to coat.

Arrange on a large parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet (or 2 smaller baking sheets) in a single layer with chicken skin-sides up. Alternatively, you can also use a 12-inch cast iron to roast the chicken and peppers. Bake 30–35 min., until chicken is cooked through.

When the chicken is done remove from the oven. To serve family style, transfer the chicken and peppers to a platter and drizzle with vinegar and  garnish with a sprinkle with parsley.

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All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!


Shrimp Scampi Florentine Pasta

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The classic Florentine preparation places the main ingredient on a bed of buttery spinach, topped with sauce and cheese and browned under the broiler. We’ve replicated the basic idea, giving you all those rich and cheesy flavors, but with less effort than a full-on Florentine. We’ve even improved it, with a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. Tip: An easier way to mince parsley? Gather them all in one hand and lay on the cutting board. Use your knife in rocking motion to cut, then turn 90 degrees and repeat until the herbs are properly minced!

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

5  ounces spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces  baby spinach, roughly chopped
¼  bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons mirepoix base or vegetable
¼ cup light cream
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 3 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. While pasta boils, cook shrimp.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until oil is shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the skillet n and cook undisturbed until seared on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip shrimp, and add shallot and garlic. Cook until aromatic, 30-60 seconds.

Lower heat to medium. Add the parsley and spinach to the skillet and stir occasionally until spinach is wilted. Add the shrimp and stir to cook until the shrimp is opaque and pink when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145ºF, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cream, Parmesan, half the pasta cooking water, mirepoix base, and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cook until sauce is slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. If too dry, add additional pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Remove the skillet from the heat and season with salt and  crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

To serve divide, the shrimp Florentine between two plates and garnish the pasta with parsley.

 Bon appétit!

Cook’s Notes:

Many chefs consider mirepoix to be the key ingredient for adding that extra umph to a dish. It’s the secret sauce; the essential ingredient; the reason your food tastes so good. Mirepoix plays an important role in flavoring soups, stews, casseroles, braised meats, and marinades.358 (1)

You can find mirepoix soup bases in the soup aisle of your local supermarket. If that is not the case you buy it online at speciality gourmet shops. Click here for the link.

To learn how to make your own mirepoix base, just click here for the link to a great teaching video.

Hello Friends!

All photographs and content, excepted where noted, are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!