Apparently my last 3 months can be paired with fruit. I wonder if I can keep this going?
The peaches and these people.
The grapes and this girl.
The pears and purgatory.
See what I did there? Matchy-matchy. And by purgatory, I don’t exactly mean an uphill climb rather a downward slope. Heaven knows there is only one direction to go from there. Please say yes, November.
In spite of an annoying October, I did go searching for pears. Here’s the thing about pears, you HAVE to bring them home hard but not tooooo hard. The other day I found some lovely ripe organic bartlett pears but by the time the grocery bagger at the new Hyvee decided to put them at the bottom of a bag filled with bananas, coffee grounds, butter, popcorn, coconut aminos and a gallon of milk on top (not even kidding), they were pear sauce in a plastic bag when I got home. In this context, how gross does that sound? Grocery bag pear sauce for $8. Even if they hadn’t rumbled roughly down the grocery conveyer belt (yes, that too) you need hard enough pears to survive the trip home.
Good grief. When you hear things like, buy pears hard but not too hard, or make sure they are bagged correctly, oh and smell your fruit, it’s no wonder people stop trying to eat fresh foods. (For reals though, I do smell my fruit. If it smells like a rock then it probably tastes like one.)
Oh dearest pear tree, where ever art thou? Oh, that’s right, not in Minnesota. 🙁 They were however found in my fruit loop journey through Oregon this past September–fruit farms and stands right on the side of the road, you lucky people of Oregon.
Pears are the perfect partners to pork and potatoes, and you don’t need them very ripe to roast just right.
Add just a little onion to the mix, and you have another reason to love.
It’s a simple combination and one of our favorite fall dinners.
Hello November. I like you already.
|Balsamic Roasted Pork with Pears and Potatoes|| |
- 4 bone-in pork chops
- 4 potatoes scrubbed, sliced thinly into wedges lengthwise, at least 8 wedges per potato so they can cook all the way through. Use russet, sweet potatoes or yams!
- ½ red or yellow onion cut into 4 chunks and separate
- 4 barely ripe pears quartered and seeded
- 4 short sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked for at least 1 tablespoon roughly chopped
- 4 heads of garlic peeled and crushed
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- additional salt and pepper to season the pork
- Set pork chops in a glass dish.
- Whisk together ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, ⅓ cup olive oil, 4 garlic cloves crushed, 1 tablespoon of rosemary leaves roughly chopped, ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of ground pepper.
- Pour approximately 1 tablespoon of the whisked marinade on each pork chop, 4-6 tablespoons total for entire glass dish, reserving the rest of your sauce for later. Flip the meat over and rub it around, so both sides are covered. Let your meat set at room temperature while you finish the recipe. (This part can be made an hour and up to 4 hours ahead and refrigerated. Be sure to let meat come to room temperature before you start the cooking process.)
- Preheat your oven to 425°.
- Chop your potatoes, pears and onions as your oven preheats. Toss your fruits and vegetables with remaining marinade, making sure each piece is covered with the sauce, with clean hands rub the pieces with marinade. Finish off with more rosemary leaves or whole sprigs and lightly sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper across your entire dish.
- Place your vegetables and fruit in the oven and set your timer for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle your marinated pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides and place them in your hot skillet, scraping all marinade in as well. Let your chops fry for about 1½ minutes before flipping over. Fry again for a minute or two. You are just searing both sides.
- Once both sides have been seared, open your oven and settle your pork chops, and any pan sauce, on top of your vegetables and continue to bake for remaining time.
- At the 40 minute mark, pull out your pan and check readiness by piercing a potato to see if it's cooked all the way through and tender. Check your meat's temperature if you'd like as well. If it's at least 135° take it out and let your dish rest, it will continue to cook. If it needs more time, put it back in for another 5 and check again.
Note: If you want or need to simplify this recipe, you can skip marinating and pan-frying your pork chops. Just rub all pork chops, vegetables, and fruits (as seen in the picture below) with the entire batch of marinade. Salt and pepper the whole dish well and cook for 45 minutes, or until meat and potatoes are fully cooked. I prefer the extra step of marinating and searing the meat if I have prep time, but I like this next best option on nights when I need to throw something in the oven sooner than later.