Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tomato & Basil Stuffed Pork with Balsamic Reduction

Barry the Basil plant has reached adolesence! He may not be big, but I did what I feel was adequate research into the harvesting of basil leaves and determined his time had come.

Feeling that his debut could be anything but ordinary (in other words, a marinara sauce with basil simply would not do), I conjured up this recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand... and the ingredients I love.

Fresh, summery tomatoes? Check.

Creamy, locally-produced feta? Check.

Apartment-grown basil? Check!
And then there's the balsamic vinegar... I don't know about you, but I cannot get enough of a good balsamic reduction. In fact, in the spirit of full-disclosure, I will say that it took everything I had in me not to lick this plate clean. (Finger-to-mouth swipes did the job quite well, so don't you worry; my restraint was due to the void of balsamic to lick!!)
The Edibles:
  • 4 pork chops, flattened to 1/2-inch thickness
  • Italian dressing, enough to coat the chops for marinading
  • 1 tsp. choved garlic (about 1 clove)
  • 1/4 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, diced into small peices
  • 2 T. (about 4-6 leaves) fresh basil, finely diced
  • 2 T. feta cheese
  • 1 c. balsamic vinegar
The Making:
  1. Marinate chops in a sealed plastic bag for at least 1 hour up to overnight. Flip bag whenever you think of it; massage the chops to get them super flavor-infused
  2. Spray a small non-stick sauté pan with non-stick olive oil cooking spray. Place over medium heat; after 30 seconds over heat add chopped garlic. Heat for an additional 30 seconds, stirring with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add diced onion; cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, basil, and pepper and cook for an addition 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.
  3. After cooling, add feta to onion-tomato-basil mix. Stir to incorporate.
  4. Remove chops from plastic bag; discard mariande. Prepare each chop by placing about 1/4 cup of tomatoey mix in the center of each chop. Tie with butcher twine, using at least two pieces per chop (three if they're jumbo chops) to secure filling.
  5. Grill stuffed chops over medium-high heat (375-400) for about 20-25 minutes. Check for done-ness at the 20 minute mark by slicing into a thick part of the chop.
  6. While the pork cooks, place balsamic vinegar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to medium to medium-high. Allow vinegar to gently boil for about 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by half. The vinegar will be quite viscous, thick, and stickly similar in thickness to acrylic paint.
  7. Once chops are cooked, serve with a drizzle (or heavy-handed spoonful as we like it in this house) of your homemade balsamic reduction.

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