Remember when I wrote about my trips to Costco, specifically, how I prefer to go there on my own due to the fact that our total bill becomes a bit inflated whenever my husband comes along? Well, I made an exception this past Saturday because we had many other errands to take care of in the Super Store Central part of town (Best Buy, Lowe's, PetSmart, etc.). Whenever I get to the Costco checkout, I try to guess what the total is going to be, and although I am always under, I have never been under by enough to buy myself a pretty nice pair of shoes. But, I guess we really do need that 10 pound bag of Jolly Ranchers, the super-sized puppy biscuits, and those luau-worthy tiki torches.....
Costco did have some really wonderful and lean looking boneless pork chops at a great price (see "tips" below), so we decided to get those for dinner. I was really tired, after a week of being woken up by our new puppy, who always seems to need to go outside at exactly 3:45 in the morning, so I wanted to prepare something that wouldn't take a great deal of effort. A few years ago, when my parents were visiting, I made a grilled chicken with caramelized onions and balsamic glaze, which went over very well and my mom has made several times since. I decided to do a variation on this recipe, using the shallots that I already had at home. This preparation method is perfect for those nights when you don't have excess time or energy to devote to dinner. The ingredients are pantry staples, and the entire thing comes together in about 20-25 minutes. Here are my tips for making this sweet and sour supper:
- Although shallots are a bit sweeter than onions, you can always substitute a 2 red onions that have been sectioned into 8 wedges each for the shallots.
- This recipe would also work very nicely with other types of meat or fish, such as chicken, beef medallions, or halibut. Adjust the cooking time depending on the variation of protein that you are using.
- For a shopping tip, I always find that Costco has fantastic deals on the large "family packs" of meat and fish, and the quality is usually excellent. I bought a package of 10 boneless pork chops, each about 1 1/2 inches thick, for something like $15. I used 2 for dinner and then grouped the remainder in freezer bags for future use. I did the same thing with a large piece of wild salmon--I just cut it into 6-8 ounce portions, bagged them, and put them in the freezer. With BBQ season coming up, I don't want to be running to the store every time we decide to grill out (which is every night in the summer)!
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Balsamic Glaze
4 (1-inch thick) center-cut pork chops
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 shallots, quartered and peeled, leaving root ends intact
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Pat the pork dry and sprinkle with the thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook the pork along with the shallots, turning pork once and stirring the shallots occasionally, until the pork is browned and the shallots are golden brown and tender, about 5 minutes total.
Transfer the pork with tongs to a plate and then add the vinegar and sugar and remaining salt and pepper to the shallots in the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened slightly, about 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium, and then return the pork to the skillet, along with any juices accumulated on the plate. Turn the pork 2 or 3 times to coat with the sauce. Cook until the pork is just cooked through, 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness.