Monday, 25 February 2013
True Confessions time here people. The whole time I was growing up I would never touch a slice of cheese any stronger than a Kraft Singles slice . . . tis true. I turned my nose up at anything else other than plastic cheese. My mother would buy some cracker barrel around the holidays, but for the most part only plastic cheese existed in my childhood, or processed cheese. You know Velveeta and the like.
I think the only macaroni and cheese I ever tasted as a child was the stuff from the box. It just wasn't something which got made or eaten in our home. As a result I was very suspicious of any cheese that wasn't bright orange or mildly flavoured.
That all changed somewhat when I grew up and started cooking for my own family. I got a bit more adventurous and sometimes bought real cheddar to make homemade macaroni and cheese for my family and slowly but surely other cheeses crept into my palate. For a while I had myself convinced that I only liked cheese when it was cooked . . . and perhaps that was true for a time . . .
Then one day I had a chance encounter with blue cheese salad dressing when served some hot chicken wings at a restaurant and I fell in love with blue cheese . . . I liked the richness and the slight tang of it . . . it didn't taste mouldy at all. I had grown up thinking it would taste a bit like the smell of mildew . . . but it didn't!
And I know it was only Salad Dressing . . . but to a girl who had only ever eaten processed cheese, this was a life changing revelation! I got braver and braver . . . and even went so far as to buy blue cheese and make my own blue cheese dressing. I loved it . . .
And then I started shopping and cooking for rich people. It's a well known fact that rich people like stinky things to eat . . . they like their game almost rank . . . and their cheeses the same. They would call it well aged . . . it's kind of hard to cook for people unless you are willing to taste what you are cooking . . .I had to branch out. I finally learned what I had been missing all those years . . . stinky cheese tastes good, really good!
It also goes very well with fruit . . . and fruit goes really well with pork, and so that makes these pork chops here today a fabulous combination. You get the rich almost sweet flavour of the pork, combined with the sweet caramelized pears . . . and that wonderful tangy and creamy blue cheese. A wonderful trinity of fabulous flavours. I do hope you will give them a try!
*Pork Chops with Pears and Blue Cheese*
Browned chops served with caramelized pears, pungent and creamy blue cheese and a flavorful sauce. They all work beautifully together.
4 bone in pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
(Use a pair of kitchen scissors, to cut nips along
the fat side of the chops. This keeps them from curling up
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large, firm pear, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
1 tsp brown sugar
6 fluid ounces of chicken stock (3/4 cup)
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 TBS good quality Balsamic Vinegar
4 TBS crumbled blue cheese
Pat the chops dry and season them well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat about 1 TBS oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and brown the chops on both sides, about five minutes per side. Remove, tent with foil and keep warm. (The juices should run clear.)
Toss the pears with the sugar, and a light seasoning of salt and pepper. Add them to the pan, cut side down. Cook, turning, until golden brown. Scoop out and lay on top of the chops.
Add the broth to the pan. Cook, stirring up any drippings, until the sauce thickens somewhat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Balsamic vinegar and the butter ( a little bit at a time.) Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon sauce over pears and sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.