Monday, October 17, 2011

October 16: Sage and Balsamic Pork Chops with Creamy Pumpkin Polenta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped
   Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 to 1 1/2-inch-thick boneless center-cut pork chops
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
   Freshly grated or ground nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon
3/4 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus some for garnish
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Preheat a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO. In a shallow dish, combine the balsamic, sage, parsley, garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoons of EVOO, salt, and pepper.

Coat the pork chops and then place them in the skillet and sear the meat on both sides to caramelize, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven to finish off, about 8 minutes, or until the meat is firm to the touch but not tough.

While the chops are cooking, in a sauce pot combine the chicken stock, milk, and pumpkin and season with the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Place over high heat and bring up to a simmer. Whisk in the polenta and stir until it begins to mass together. Add the grated cheese and butter, stirring to combine. Keep in mind that polenta is very forgiving. If it becomes too thick, not smooth and creamy, you can always add more warm chicken stock or milk.

Serve the polenta alongside the sage and balsamic pork chops with steamed vegetables. Garnish the polenta with a little extra grated or shaved cheese.


I made this meal for the church potluck, and I poured the polenta into a pan and cut the pork chops into cubes and put them on top. I could have sworn that I took a picture of how I served it, but it wasn't on my camera. Maybe I was in such a hurry to get to church for choir practice that I thought I took the picture when I actually didn't. Anyway, this meal was really, really good! I would definitely make it again! RR says, "Serve with steamed broccoli or cauliflower." I meant to make the broccoli, but I ran out of time and I figured there would be enough vegetables at the potluck. It was international potluck day, so I guess this meal would have been the Italian food???

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