Pork Chops with Maple Balsamic Pan Sauce

A while back an amazing specialty shop opened up in Edmonton.  Evoolution sells a wide variety of olive oils and balsamic vinegars and a few other complementary kitchen and food products.  Since they’ve opened, we’ve tried a few different flavour-infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars.  A quick search turned up results for stores like this all around North America (including many with online ordering).  If you can find one near you, stop and in check it out.

This recipe came together on a whim.  We stopped in to Evoolution to browse around on the day that we were waiting to meet our farmer to pick up our half pig.  One of the very first things that caught my eye when I walked in the store was a maple-infused balsamic.  Pork and maple?  It was destiny!

We’ve had these pork chops numerous times since then, finishing off the small bottle of maple balsamic just the other day making the recipe for this post.  The combo of the maple plus the amazing pastured pork makes it hard to resist!

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Pork Chops with Maple Balsamic Pan Sauce

  • 4 bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tbsp lard (or other cooking fat of choice)
  • Salt, pepper, and dried Greek herb blend to taste
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2/3 cup broth (I used pork broth from the same pig!)
  • 1/3 cup maple-infused balsamic vinegar*
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Season the pork chops with salt, pepper, and the Greek seasoning.  Melt 1 tbsp of lard in the skillet.

In two batches, sear the pork chops for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until a nice golden brown colour develops.  Remove from the skillet and add to a baking dish or pan.  When all your chops are seared, place in the oven for about 20 minutes (depends on the thickness of your chops).

While the chops are in the oven, add the remaining 1 tbsp of lard to the skillet (note: depending on how much fat cooked off your pork chops, you may not need to add more to the skillet at this point).  Add diced onion and sautee until soft and translucent (about 6-8 minutes).  Add the crushed garlic and sautee for another minute.

Combine the broth, vinegar and rosemary.  Pour the liquids into the hot skillet.  Watch out for the blast of vinegar vapour…keep your nose back from the skillet when adding the liquid.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.  It will reduce significantly, becoming thick and syrupy.  The sauce is done when you drag your spoon through the sauce and the trails remain (see photo below).

Remove the chops from the oven and put them on a plate.  Spoon the sauce over the chops and dig in!  Enjoy your delicious meat candy!

*If you don’t have access to a source of the maple-infused vinegar try a combo of plain balsamic and maple syrup. I would start with 1 tbsp of maple syrup and 1/3 cup of balsamic and then tweak to your tastes from there.

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