b’s birthday – part 1: pork chops with balsamic-maple glaze

holy birthdays! It seems all my cooking/baking these days has been for birthdays and this post – as well as tomorrow’s – are no exception. My friend B has been having a rough couple of weeks (that could be an understatement, with multiple hospital stays under her belt), but she was turning 22! and I wanted to do something special, so instead of just going out to dinner, I decided I’d cook her up something new, from scratch. Matt’s been proud of his risotto cakes since he learned how to make them a few weeks ago (and they are so delicious! – I may have him do a guest post soon just for them!) I wanted to let him make them for part of dinner – if not only to keep him busy enough in the kitchen to let me do my thing!

I’ve been struggling to come up with much to pair with risotto cakes. While they soak up sauces nicely, I’m hesitant to cook anything whose sauce doesn’t normally pair well with cheese/rice. B’s only stipulation was no seafood, so I started searching the interwebs for some sort of white meat (I still associate steak with potatoes and can’t convince myself to pair it with rice, ever). Matt and I had cooked pork saltimbocca with risotto cakes a few weeks back, but always wanting to try something new, I tried to find a different dish and found success at Elly Says Opa: Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze. The only difference I made to the recipe was to add extra maple syrup, just to make sure it was a sweeter sauce to balance with the saltier risotto cakes.¬†We also made some green beans, but nothing too snazzy. Pictures and recipe after the jump.

Pork Chops with Balsamic-Maple Glaze

The original recipe, copied from here:

2 pork chops
2 tsp. herbs de Provence
salt and pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

Pat the pork chops dry and then rub each chop with 1 tsp. of herbs de Provence. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the pork chops and cook until a little underdone (about 2-3 minutes per side, will vary depending on thickness, etc.). Remove pork chops from the pan.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the balsamic vinegar. Deglaze the pan, scraping up all the browned bits, and reduce the vinegar by about half. Stir in the maple syrup. Add the pork chops back into the skillet and continue cooking until done, about a minute per side. Most of the glaze should be soaked up by the chops. Drizzle the chops with any additional glaze.

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