Balsamic: A Berry's Best Friend

This sweet-savory combination is a match made in culinary heaven.

Come summertime, we love taking advantage of the sweet and tart goodness of berries. That’s why we are berry excited to partner with Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt to share tips, insights and her favorite recipes using berries.

Balsamic vinegar and berries isn’t necessarily a flavor combination that people default to in the U.S., but across Europe (in Italy and Spain, especially), the two frequently dance together. After all, balsamic is reduced grape juice, so think of balsamic and berries as a bit of a deconstructed fruit salad.

Or, in this case, together they make a tart-and-sweet sauce that piles on the complexity to meat.

These pork chops with the deep butter crust are just the right base for this sauce that is both sweet and a bit sour.

The balsamic reduces with fragrant juniper, thyme, garlic and a bit of sugar to balance the vinegar brightness. It’s then strained while hot, over the blueberries so they retain their freshness while also soaking in a bit of the brine.

Serve this with a creamy polenta or crisp rosemary potatoes.

Title

Perfectly seared

Sear a deep, savory flavor into your pork chops with the high heat of the Min-2-Max® Burner on our ranges.

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Butter Braised Pork Chops with Pickled Blueberry Balsamic Sauce

"Balsamic really is the right vinegar for this, as it has a rich sweetness that doesn’t over power the chops or the blueberries. But you don’t have to break the balsamic bank here. Use a balsamic that you like, but it doesn’t have to be one that is spendy and aged. We’re reducing it with lots of aromatics, which add to the richness and depth in the sauce. Basically, don’t buy the cheapest giant bottle you can find, but don’t waste your snazzy stuff here either." - Ashley

Servings: 2

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Ingredients

1 teaspoon juniper berries

1 garlic clove, peeled

3 thyme sprigs, divided

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (about 6 ounces) fresh blueberries

2 bone-in pork chops

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 tablespoons butter, divided

Salt and pepper

Instructions

For the sauce:

In a small saucepan combine the juniper berries, garlic, two thyme sprigs, balsamic, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil bring to a boil over medium high heat then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes.

Place the blueberries in a bowl then strain the balsamic over the blueberries. Let this sit for at least 15 minutes.

The sauce can be made up to a day in advance. Rewarm before serving.

For the pork chops:

Salt and pepper the pork chops.

Set a large skillet over high heat then add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. When the oil shimmers and the butter spurts carefully add the pork chops.

Let them sit undisturbed for 3 minutes. Flip the chops and again let the chops sear for 3 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and thyme sprig and with a spoon start basting the chops with the butter. Flip the chops repeatedly and continue to baste.

Cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chop reads 135°F. This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the chops from the pan and let rest for 15 minutes.

Serve with the pickled blueberry-balsamic sauce.

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