Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig SauceWho gives a fig?
The other day I found myself in possession of two beautiful baskets of fresh Black Mission figs. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long in the hot weather I set about figuring out how to use them.

I knew I didn’t want to use them in a dessert—the last thing I really need to be eating is dessert. Also, that seemed too easy. I wanted something different. So I went searching for savory recipes that included figs.

There are a lot of things you can do with figs beyond just shoving them in your mouth. There’s fig and balsamic jam. Fig pizza. You can slice them up in a salad with fresh goat cheese. Or, you can wrap them in bacon and throw them on the grill. (See our recipe for Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese.)

When I think of the combination of figs and savory, pork often comes to mind. Probably, because pork can handle the sweetness of the figs the same way it can with apples. So, it was no surprise that my search for something new landed on a recipe that was the inspiration for these Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce. I knew I had found what was for dinner.

The original recipe calls for pork tenderloin, but I brined some thick-cut, boneless pork chops instead. I used the same pan that I used for the pork to make the fig sauce. Once the sauce was done I pulled the chops from the oven and spooned the figgy goodness on top.

Roasted Pork Chops with Fresh Fig Sauce
Adapted from Food 52
Yields 4 Servings

For the Pork Chops
About 20-ounces of thick-cut, boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
Fine grain sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For the Fig Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
6 fresh, black mission figs, perfectly ripe and cut into quarters
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup chicken stock

Preheat oven to 375º F.

Brine the Pork Chops
Make a basic brine solution of 4 tablespoons salt to 1 quart of water. Lay the pork chops in a single layer in a shallow dish, and then pour the brine over top. Allow the chops to sit for about 45 minutes before cooking. This will tenderize the meat, and help it to draw in moisture.

Cook the Pork Chops
Dry off the pork chop, season them with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium high heat. When hot, add the grape seed oil and the pork chops. Sear them on both sides (about 2 minutes per side). Remove the pork chops from the heat.

Place a wire rack on a baking sheet, and put the pork chops on top. Place them in the warm oven for 25 minutes to roast.

Make the Fig Sauce
While the pork chops are roasting, heat the butter in the same skillet until it is melted. Add the figs to the pan and cook until golden (about 2 minutes). Remove the figs from the pan and them set aside. In the same pan, add the balsamic vinegar, stock, and sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer until the sauce has reduced an thickened (about 4 to 5 minutes). Return the figs to the pan, heat through, and keep warm.

Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Arrange the pork chops on a platter. Spoon the figs around the pork and drizzle the sauce over the figs and around the pork.

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