Here’s something to jazz up your midweek meals – Balsamic Pork Chops!! Seared to perfection with a gorgeous thick golden crust, and served with a balsamic glaze that is tangy and sweet – but not too sweet.
The balsamic syrup for this recipe is a great one to add to your arsenal because it is a secret weapon for wickedly delicious super fast meals (GREAT with chicken!) and to use as a drizzle to fancy things up – just like restaurants do!
I’m revealing another of my secret weapon recipes today – Balsamic Syrup. Also known as Balsamic Glaze. Or Balsamic Reduction. And probably a handful of other names that I don’t know about!
It’s made with just balsamic vinegar and brown sugar that is reduced until syrupy. The flavour is quite intense – tangy and sweet – so you don’t need very much of it when used as a sauce like in this recipe.
While some recipes will tell you to use the best quality balsamic vinegar you can afford, I say to use a good value balsamic. I find the flavour so intense, I can’t tell whether it’s made with a good value balsamic or a posh one. So I reserve my posh stuff for other purposes.
Basically, anything you put Balsamic Glaze on tastes better. Use it for salads, drizzle over crostini and pizza. As a dipping sauce for bread. It is best mates with mushrooms, it makes beetroot fancy, and it’s fantastic to use warm as a sauce for meat and grilled vegetables. Like PORK CHOPS!
The rule of thumb to make Balsamic Syrup is to use around 1 part sugar to 3 to 4 parts balsamic, and to reduce it by around half to make it syrupy. I use 1 cup of balsamic vinegar and 1/3 cup of sugar, so this reduces down to 2/3 cups of syrup. Which does not sound like much for 4 pork chops, however,as I mentioned above, the flavour of the sauce is very intense so you don’t need an enormous amount of sauce per serving.
Also, I make the sauce with onion which not only adds more flavour into the sauce, it also creates volume. Plus I love how jammy the onion gets.
I served the Balsamic Pork Chops with crispy smashed potatoes using this recipe by my friend Claire from Sprinkles and Sprouts, a fellow Australian food blogger over in Perth. I’ve included abbreviated instructions in the notes, but if you would like to get the full recipe, you can get the recipe here from Sprinkles and Sprouts.
Though I’m sharing Balsamic Pork Chops today, the sauce for this recipe is fantastically versatile and can be used for any meat or even grilled vegetables. I think it’s a bit strong for seafood though, unless used sparingly.
So whatever meat you have in your fridge, as long as you have balsamic vinegar and sugar, you can make this tonight!!!! I’d love to know what you think if you do try it. – Nagi x
PS The sauce for the Balsamic Pork Chops is enough to serve 4, but the only unused skillet in the chaos of my kitchen was a smaller one that only fit 3 chops.
PPS I tend more towards a savoury rather than sweet tooth so the sauce is less sweet than some recipes that are floating round on the internet. Some call for as much as equal amounts of sugar and balsamic which is far too sweet for me.
- 4 pork chops, 2.5cm / 1" thick, about 200-250g/7-8oz each (excluding any bone) (Note 1)
- 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 onion, finely sliced (~1 cup of onion, brown, yellow or white)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup / 60g brown sugar (Note 2)
- Salt and pepper
- Crumbled goats cheese or feta
- Fresh parsley or thyme
- Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook the first side for 5 minutes until it has a lovely dark gold crust, then turn and cook the other side for 2 minutes. (Note 3)
- Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil.
- Add 1 tbsp oil to the skillet, still on medium high. Add garlic and onion, cook until translucent - around 3 minutes.
- Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is melted. When it comes to a simmer, adjust the heat so it is bubbling gently, not rapidly.
- Simmer for ~5 to 8 minutes or until it reduces by almost half and is a THIN syrup. Then add the pork back into the skillet, including all the juices on the plate. Simmer, turning pork to reheat, for 2-3 minutes or until the the sauce becomes syrupy (to your taste) and pork is reheated. (Note 4)
- Serve, garnished with crumbled goats cheese if desired.
2. Honey also works but it won't thicken quite as much / you need to reduce it further to get the same consistency shown in the photos. The flavour is lovely!
3. With this cook time, the pork will still be a teeny bit pink inside which is ok because it will be resting for quite a while while we make the sauce and it cooks a bit more IN the sauce later.
4. You don't need to stand over the stove, but keep an eye on it. Don't wander too far. If you leave it too long and it reduces down to a really thick sticky glaze, it can be salvaged by whisking in water.
The cook time for the syrup will depend on strength of stove, heat retention of skillet and size of skillet.
5. I served the Balsamic Pork Chops with these Crispy Smashed Potatoes by Sprinkles and Sprouts food blog. Here is an abbreviated recipe: Boil baby potatoes until soft, drain then leave in colander to steam dry. Crush lightly with fork or potato masher so they mostly stay in one piece, drizzle with olive oil and/or melted butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Bake at 200C for 25 min or until golden and crispy.
6. Nutrition is per serving for the pork chops only and assuming all the sauce is consumed.
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Nutrition per serving, pork and all sauce only, assuming this is made with pork scotch fillets.
Life of Dozer – When I took the overhead shot of the pork, I just shifted my camera slightly and snapped him in usual position….