Pork Chops and Grilled Figs with Balsamic Reduction

pork chops with figs - vert

This meal was super easy and the two big take-aways are herbes de Provence and balsamic reduction. Two great ingredients to keep stocked in your Griller’s Pantry for quick and easy meals.

I simply seasoned the pork chops with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a dusting of the herbes de provence. I grilled the chops per my handy tips in the post Pork Chops 101: Tender, Juicy Pork Loin Chops – but, I skipped the brine because I was in a hurry (see, it’s ok to adjust to your own time schedule!). While the chops were resting after coming off the grill, I grilled some plump Mission figs I found at the market. Wham bam plus a drizzle of balsamic reduction and dinner is on the table!

It’s all about quick, easy and delicious summer grilling! You could throw this together for friends and they would be amazed! 

herbes de provence

Herbes de Provence

My first jar of this amazing blend of French herbs (savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano, fennel seed, and sometimes lavender) was given to me in college and I used to use it on everything from most fish to beef and I have recently rediscovered it. I generally don’t buy premixed herb and spice blends because I have so many individual spices in my Griller’s Pantry, it’s easy enough to custom tailor them myself…. but this stuff is delicious! Every herb and spice brand out there makes a blend of “herbs of Provence”, but the blend pictured above from Aux Anysetiers du Roy is my personal favorite… plus the little crock is super cool. 🙂 It is available in the spice section of most major supermarkets.

Balsamic Vinegar Reduction

Take a bottle of inexpensive balsamic vinegar and pour into a saucepan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to a simmer and reduce the vinegar.  As the liquid evaporates, the flavors of the vinegar begin to concentrate and sweeten.  Let the vinegar reduce by about 75% (a 16-ounce bottle yields about 1/2 cup).  Make sure you keep an eye on it toward the end because it can quickly burn. The syrup should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Keep in a jar or squirt bottle in your pantry.  I guarantee you’ll find reasons to use it! Reducing the vinegar gives you a sweet, slightly-sour, tangy syrup that is an amazing foil for fruits (try drizzled over fresh strawberries) and vegetables, and also makes an amazing glaze brushed over meats and seafood after grilling.

figs and thyme

Plump, sweet Mission figs are in the markets right now rand they are ripe and delicious. Grilling figs couldn’t be easier. Simply cut the figs in half top to bottom and lightly brush the cut side with a little oil. Place cut side down over a medium hot grill and cook for a couple minutes until well marked and tender.  The grilling caramelizes the sugars in the figs and takes them to a special place.

Pork Chops and Grilled Figs with Balsamic Reduction

serves four

4 bone-in pork loin chops
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence + a large pinch
12 large plump Mission figs
Balsamic vinegar reduction (see above)

Rub the pork chops with a little bit of oil and season with with salt, pepper, and herbs; set aside. Cut the figs in half top to bottom, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with a pinch of herbs and then toss to coat.

Preheat grill for direct heat grilling with two zones: high heat and medium heat. Brush and oil the grates before cooking.

Place chops on the high heat side for two minutes to sear the meat, flip and sear the other side for two minutes. Move chops to the medium heat; rotate 90 degrees for crosshatch marks. Reduce the high heat to medium in preparation for cooking the figs. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 140°F for medium (medium is 145°F; the temperature will rise another 5°F with carryover heat). During the last couple minutes of cooking, brush with some of the balsamic reduction, flipping a couple times to help caramelize the sauce. Allow the chops to rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

While the pork chops rest, place figs cut side down over the medium hot grill and cook for 2 to 4 minutes until well marked and tender. Remove from grill and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar reduction.

Serve hot with your favorite grilled vegetable or and nice green salad.

pork chops and figs - horz

Cheers and Happy Grilling!
~Jeff

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