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Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze

I've always associated pork chops with autumn. I'm not sure why, but maybe because they pair so well with other flavors I associate with autumn: apples, maple syrup, butternut squash, to name a few.

When I saw this recipe by fellow blogger Elly Says Opa!, I couldn't wait to make it. For one thing, it doesn't scream "autumn!" I also happen to love balsamic vinegar. I've never mixed it with maple syrup before and was interested to see how it tasted.

Elly's original recipe called for herbs de provence (a mixture of dried spices typically used in cooking in the Provence region of France), which I didn't have in my pantry, so I scaled down a recipe from Emeril Lagasse on FoodNetwork.com. If you choose to use fresh herbs, you'll need three times the amount of dried herbs for which the recipe calls. 

The result was — not surprisingly — delicious. The deep flavor of the reduced balsamic vinegar is tempered by, and pairs very well with, the maple syrup. The glaze also soaked into the whole wheat couscous I served with the chops, which enhanced the nutty flavor. My only complaint was my own fault: I used thin-sliced pork chops, and I overcooked them in the pan. It's happened to me several times already, so no more thin-sliced chops in this house!

Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze
Source: Elly Says Opa!

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • ¼ tsp dried savory
  • ¼ tsp dried rosemary
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ¼ tsp dried marjoram
  • ¼ tsp dried fennel seed (I didn't have this, so I omitted it)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup

Directions

  1. Bring the pork chops to room temperature and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle each side of each chop with ½ tsp of herbs de provence. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chops and cook about two minutes on each side, leaving them a little under-cooked. Remove to a plate. 
  3. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the balsamic vinegar to the skillet. As you pour the vinegar in, scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen any stuck bits of pork. Bring the vinegar to a boil, and cook until reduced by half. 
  4. Stir in the maple syrup, then add the chops back to the pan and cook another minute on each side, or until cooked through. The balsamic-maple glaze will soak into the pork chops, turning them a deep shade of brown. 
  5. Plate each pork chop with your side dishes (I served them with carrots and whole wheat couscous) and drizzle any remaining glaze over the chops. 

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