Do you look in other people's grocery carts to see what they're buying? Be honest. It's pretty boring to stand in line at the grocery store. After all, there's not much to do once you've read all the tabloid headlines. Maybe it's the mystery lover in me that makes me study people at the grocery store. The three guys buying nothing but beer -- is that a party without food? A night watching a ball game? A fishing trip? The mom with kids who is buying six pizzas -- is there a slumber party at their house? Or are the pizzas for an after-the-game celebration?
Last week, I shopped for groceries with my mom. Each of us takes a cart, and we shop independently. But when I stopped to pick up a prescription, I turned around and discovered my mom looking through my cart! (Evidently, I inherited the snoopy gene.) I didn't mind and got a good chuckle out of it. When I returned to my cart, she said "Those pork chops look delicious. I want one of them when you cook them."
Today I'm sharing the pork chops with you, too. They're about an inch and a half thick, which I don't often find. Our blackberry bushes continue to bear wonderful lush berries, so I made a blackberry champagne reduction. More specifically, a gastrique. If you're like Sheila and me, and you watch cooking shows, you've probably heard the term. I didn't know what it meant.
|Queenie helping herself to berries|
A gastrique is employed to round out flavors in a dish, and is either served with meat or seafood, or used as a base for other sauces, such as one with tomatoes. It can also be used to add complexity to fruit-forward cocktails."
It's really just a reduction and they're so easy to make. If you're not a fan of vinegar, deduce the balsamic vingear to 1 tablespoon.
This would be great with a steak, or chicken breasts. You could even cook the meat on the grill. I chose not to because the pork chops are so thick, and I didn't want them to dry out. The 90 degree heat under a blazing sun also convinced me to cook inside.
Rosemary Pork Chops with Blackberry Champagne Gastrique
Blackberry Champagne Gastrique
2 cups blackberries (save a few for garnish)
1/2 cup champagne (or white wine)
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Place all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and mash the berries with the back of a spoon to release their juices. Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid reduces, about 20 minutes. Put through a sieve before serving over meat. Garnish with berries.
(Can be made ahead of time.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
splash balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pork chops
splash of champagne (optional)
Place 1 tablespoon olive oil, rosemary, salt and vinegar in a zip-type bag. Mash together and add the pork chops. Seal it closed and turn over a few times to coat them. Marinate up to an hour.
Place 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium/low heat. When hot, add the pork chops. Brown about four minutes on each side. Add a splash of champagne if desired. Reduce heat a bit and cover. After 4-7 minutes, flip to other side, cover and cook. Check internal temperature with a thermometer. Pork is done at 145 degrees.
(Note: My 1 1/2 inch thick pork chops were perfect after 7 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other.)