Perfectly caramelized pork chops served over creamy roasted garlic polenta with sautéed greens. A complete meal loaded with flavor and ready in under 30 minutes.
You guys. This meal had me swooned. Everything from the juicy, tender pork chop with its crisp caramelized crust to the heavenly pillow of garlic-loaded polenta to the silky swiss chard. It’s one of those meals where you aim to get a little bit of each component in every bite. I feel like 9 out of 10 times I eat polenta at restaurants, it’s extra indulgent. It usually includes some kind of soft, creamy, delicious cheese which is then topped with an extra rich piece of meat which is THEN topped with some kind of creamy sauce or gravy. I mean, I can definitely get down with it if I’m enjoying a night out, but all this corn meal really needs to please me is good ol’ ROASTED GARLIC. An entire head of roasted garlic, that is.
Hello, beautiful. My favorite marinade right now is embarrassingly simple, yet so fantastic every time. I simply mix some good quality balsamic vinegar with a few tablespoons of fruit preserves (whichever flavor of the week I’m into), some minced garlic and a dash of salt and pepper. You can marinade chicken, pork, red meat and even fish in this mixture and it is just fantastical. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, nothing you probably don’t already have on hand. The balance of sweet, savory and tangy just works in such perfect harmony and can do wonders for lean (less flavorful) meat. If I’m feeling adventurous, I may add some adobe sauce or minced chipotle peppers in there too.
My version of “adventurous” these days is laughable. This is also the perfect meal for you to cook for your honey on Valentine’s Day. It’s very simple, yet can look very elegant plated. Especially with those purrttyy pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top. Could we get any more festive??
Speaking of, what is everyone doing for good ol’ V’day?? Any special plans?! I’ve never been that into the holiday, so I requested my boyfriend just take me out to get our favorite burgers in town followed by dessert.
Dessert will likely consist of us exchanging pints of ice-cream on the couch while watching The Walking Dead. So really, I get to spend V-Day with 3 of my favorite men: Adam, ‘Ben & Jerry’. AND I get to get away with not wearing heels. It really just sounds like a dream.
- 1 lb boneless pork loin chops
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp fruit preserves (I used Smucker's Orchard's Finest Triple Berry Preserves)
- 1 large bunch of swiss chard, stems and ribs removed, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- ***Roasted Garlic Herb Polenta***
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ cups milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk)
- 1½ cups water
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (I used basil and parsley)
- Optional garnish: pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, extra herbs
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Chop off the top portion of the garlic head to reveal cloves. Peel any excess paper/skin off from the bulb of garlic. Place the cloves onto a piece of tin foil and pour about a teaspoon of olive oil on top. Cover with the foil. Place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes, or until the garlic is golden brown and soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool five minutes. Squeeze the garlic out of the paper skin into a bowl and mash well with a fork.
- To make the polenta, pour the water and milk into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and slowly pour in the polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. During the last minute or so, stir in roasted garlic, fresh herbs and a dash of salt and pepper.
- While the polenta cooks, prepare the pork. Pour balsamic vinegar, water and preserves in a liquid measuring cup and mix well. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and place on the skillet, searing for 3-4 minutes to get a nice caramelization. Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until browned. Reduce to medium heat and pour in all but ¼ cup of balsamic mixture. Allow the sauce to simmer until it coats the pork, about 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
- While the pork finishes cooking, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add swiss chard and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until wilted down.
- To assemble: spoon ~1 cup of polenta onto a serving plate/bowl. Top with a spoonful of swiss chard and one pork chop. Pour a drizzle of remaining balsamic mixture (or spoon out leftover balsamic glaze from the skillet) on top. Garnish with fresh herbs, pomegranate seeds and pine nuts. Serve!