Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuscan Pork Chops

Pork chops always get a bad rap, don't you think? They are so easy to overcook and tend to dry out BUT not if you use the right marinade before-hand. The marinade in this recipe brings me back to sitting in an Italian villa eating dinner with Grandma.

That's a lie. I've never been to Italy.

I would imagine this is what a dinner in Tuscany would taste like though...The flavors in this recipe represent my country beautifully. You have the tang of the balsamic vinegar, the fruitiness of the olive oil, the freshness of the herbs and the bite of the garlic... you can't ask for more!

This recipe was adapted from a fellow blogger, Emily at Vita Nostra. She made this dish for only two people but I wanted to make this dish for my whole family. We are a big group AND we like to eat a lot. What Italian family doesn't? Am I right? C'mon - forgedda 'bout it!

Do not be alarmed at the large quantities of ingredients you will see here. Feel free to modify this recipe according to how many people you are making this dish for. It can easily be adapted to feed less people.

14 boneless pork chops
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh sage
3 tbsp fresh rosemary
10 cloves garlic, chopped
3 lemons, quartered

Liberally season pork chops with salt and pepper.  Let sit out at room temperature while you get your ingredients for the marinade together. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sage, rosemary and garlic. Pour over pork chops and marinate for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator.

Heat grill to medium high. Grill your pork chops for about 5-7 minutes on the first side. Flip and grill the second side for another 4-5 minutes. (This timing depends on how thick your chops are and how well-done you like your chops to be.) Let the pork chops rest for a few minutes and then squeeze the juice of the lemons over the top. Lucky for me, since I was home on Long Island when I made these, I had my amazing step-dad as my grill partner. It worked out well with me inside preparing the marinade and side dishes and him outside grilling away with a beer in hand!

My family and I made these pork chops with two different side dishes: baked rice and roasted green beans. I've never had green beans roasted before but I promise this will be my new way of eating them. They get sweet, caramelized and crunchy all at the same time - it's a party in your mouth! Thanks for the recipe Mom! As for the rice - this was no ordinary boxed minute rice.

Homey don't play that way.

To make the rice dish, we combined long-grain white rice, chopped onions, olive oil and beef broth, and then baked it all in a casserole dish for about an hour. It came out amazing! It's a very different method than I'm used to but it still kept the rice moist and fluffy. The added bonus was the crusty clumps of rice around the edge of the pan that I picked out all for myself. HE-HE

Tutti Mangia!


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