Pan-Seared Lemon Balsamic Pork Chops With Sun-Dried Tomato & Spinach Couscous

I have to say for years pork chops were kind of “meh” to me.  I usually breaded them with a pre-packaged bread crumb and baked them.  I still bake them occasionally but now I make my own bread crumbs.  It makes a world of difference.  So does buying from your local butcher and farmer’s markets, in my opinion.  I had no idea pork chops (or any meat for that matter) could taste so good until I started buying from our local butcher.  I mean these things are fantastic.  I will never buy pork from a chain grocery store again.   Fresh meats–from animals raised as naturally as possible–are the way to go.
This recipe is fairly simple and will produce a juicy, flavorful pork chop.  The key is a good sear.  It took me years to figure out that I prefer seared meats.  Searing meat seals in flavor and makes a crisp outer crust, sealing your seasonings to the outside of the meat and the juice inside.
For this meal you will need:
*fresh pork chops (bone in are best, do not trim fat)
*100% pure organic extra virgin olive oil (don’t worry if you can’t find organic)
*sicilian lemon balsamic vinegar
*fresh dill
*fresh cilantro
*fresh basil
*The Melting Pot garlic & wine Seasoning
*salt
*pepper
*1 cup sun-dried tomato and spinach couscous (or another flavor if you prefer)
*fresh tomatoes (1 large or 2 smaller)
*fresh mozzarella (or shredded)
*black currant balsamic vinegar
*apple sauce
*cinnamon
I usually do not marinade my pork when I pan sear it.  I want to be able to taste the lemon balsamic and the purity of the meat itself.  Make sure your pan is hot.  Very hot.  Put a small amount of olive oil in the pan and swirl it around so that you have good coverage.  You don’t want your chops swimming in oil so use just enough to cover the surface of the pan.
Lay out your chops on a cookie sheet or cutting board and season them with your salt, pepper and garlic & wine seasoning.  I never knew about garlic & wine seasoning until my husband mentioned it to me while we were eating dinner at The Melting Pot one evening.  It is a fabulous concoction, let me tell you.  I use it on many things, from salads to meats.
I have no fresh dill in my garden right now, so packaged dill will have to do
Season both sides of pork chop
Place chops in very hot pan and cook approximately 3-4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness
Lovely sear
Sun-dried tomato and spinach couscous, 1 cup
Couscous is the easiest thing in the world to cook.  Boil 1 cup water with 1 tbsp of salted butter or 1 tbsp olive oil and add couscous.  Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork and serve.
Snoozing whilst waiting for something to fall on the floor

 

The little one wakes her up with some lovins.
We have a local shop that specializes in balsamic vinegars and olive oils.  From Olives & Grapes is one of my favorite places to go.  You can sample any of their oils and vinegars and they ship!  Olive oil and vinegar is used for so much more than salads and comes in so many flavors your tongue will do the happy dance.  To help you pair oils and vinegars for best results, here is a handy chart.
Sicilian lemons are less acidic and are said to be among the most flavorful lemons in the world.  This lemon balsamic is the perfect compliment to pork.  Once your chops are done, place them on your serving platter and drizzle them with the lemon balsamic.  Sprinkle with fresh dill and cilantro.
Apples and pork are a no-brainer.  The kids like apple sauce, so I serve organic apple sauce with a teeny pinch of cinnamon  in small condiment bowls.  Take a few leaves of fresh basil and chop into small pieces, sprinkling over slices of tomato.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over top.  Fresh mozzarella is infinitely better–trust me on this–so if you can get it, use it.  Slice it and place between tomato slices.  For a quick substitute, shredded mozzarella works fine.  Drizzle with black currant balsamic.  If you’ve never had black currant balsamic, get some.  You will wonder where it’s been all your life.  Very simple and flavorful.
So fresh and yummy!
Waiting under the table.  “Is it ready yet?”
Mmmm!

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