Pork is often paired with apples in the fall, but I like what plums and a bit of vinegar can do for simply prepared pork chops.
Serve with spaetzle, egg noodles, rice salad or steamed green beans. Wine columnist Dave McIntyre suggests pouring a full-bodied Riesling such as Poet's Leap or Eroica from Washington state, Dr. Konstantin from New York or Anton Bauer 2008 from Austria.
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 or 4 (1 1/2 pounds) boneless center-cut pork chops (trimmed of excess fat), 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium shallots
- 6 firm black plums (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or sauvignon blanc vinegar
- 1 or 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (may substitute raw sugar or 1 tablespoon light brown sugar)
- Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
- Water (optional)
- Leaves from 2 stems flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
Line a medium roasting pan with aluminum foil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the skillet.
Use paper towels to pat the chops dry, then lightly season both sides with salt and pepper. Add to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom, then turn them over and cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Use tongs to transfer the chops to the roasting pan in the oven; keep the skillet over medium-high heat. It should take about 20 minutes for the chops to finish cooking in the oven; their internal temperature should register 150 to 155 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board.
While the chops are in the oven, peel and cut the shallots into very thin slices. Rinse and cut the plums in half; pit them, then cut the halves into 1/4-inch slices.
Add the shallots to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium; cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the plums. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they have softened and taken on a rosy color. Add the vinegar and the sugar to taste, stirring to incorporate until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and season lightly with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat; mince the thyme leaves, add to the fruit and stir to combine.
At this point, the fruit can be pureed using an immersion (stick) blender or a little water can be added to make the fruit saucier.
Cut the pork chops into 1/2-inch slices and divide equally among individual plates. Spoon equal amounts of the plums next to the meat. Mince the parsley and garnish each serving, if desired. Serve warm.
From deputy Food editor Bonnie S. Benwick.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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