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 flavor 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 flavor 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, and 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 one part sugar to three or four parts balsamic, and to reduce it by around half to make it syrupy. I use one 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 flavor 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 flavor 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 four, but the only unused skillet in the chaos of my kitchen was a smaller one that only fit three chops.
PPS — I tend more towards a savory 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.
Super simple, yet serious flavor!! The balsamic sauce is tangy and sweet, and this will go fantastically with any protein — chicken, beef, pork, and even lamb! The flavor of this syrup is quite intense so you do not need much for each serving — just spoon a couple of tablespoons over each pork chop. While the total cook time may seem long, it is mostly hands-off time because the balsamic syrup doesn't need to be watched over as it reduces.
- I used pork scotch filets but any steak-type cut of pork suitable for quick cooking is perfect for this! This would also be fabulous with pork tenderloin — either cut it into medallions or keep it whole and sear then bake to finish it off while making the sauce. This recipe is not suited to cuts requiring slow cooking to make them tender, like ribs or shoulder/butt.
- Honey also works but it won't thicken quite as much and you need to reduce it further to get the same consistency shown in the photos. The flavor is lovely!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Nutrition is per serving for the pork chops only and assuming all the sauce is consumed.
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 pork chops, 2.5 cm. / 1" thick, about 200-250g/7-8 oz. each (excluding any bone) (Note 1)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 onion, finely sliced (~1 cup of onion, brown, yellow, or white)
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup / 60g brown sugar (Note 2)
- Garnish (optional)
- 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. Add the pork chops and 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 and 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 goat cheese if desired.
- Main Dishes, Pork
- 4 servings
- Cook Time
- 30 Minutes
- Calories per serving