Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops with Arugula-Basil Rice Pilaf
• 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
• 1 6-ounce box rice pilaf mix, such as Near East brand
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
• 4 1-inch-thick center-cut pork loin chops
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (from a couple of sprigs), chopped
• 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, chopped
• 1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar (eyeball it)
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 cup chicken stock or broth
• 2 cups trimmed and chopped arugula (from 1 bunch)
15 to 20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
In a medium pot over high heat, combine 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 and 3⁄4 cups water. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add the rice and flavor packet to the water. Stir to combine, reduce the heat, and cook for 18 minutes, covered.
While the rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for the chops. Add 2 tablespoons of the EVOO (twice around the pan). Season the chops with salt and pepper, then add to the hot skillet. Cook the chops for 5 minutes on each side.
Transfer the chops to a platter and cover with foil. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of EVOO and the onions, thyme, rosemary, and garlic, then sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, honey, and chicken stock. Cook until the liquids have reduced by half.
While the glaze is reducing, finish the rice pilaf. Add the arugula and basil to the cooked rice, stirring with a fork to fluff the rice and combine the greens at the same time.
Once the balsamic glaze has reduced by half, turn off the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Stir and shake the pan until the butter melts. Add the chops to the pan and coat them in the balsamic glaze. Serve the glazed chops alongside the arugula-basil rice pilaf.
The chicken with tomato, basil, and smoked mozzarella can be served cold as well, making this dish perfect for lunch or dinner buffet entertaining.NOW TRY... Balsamic-Glazed Chicken with Smoked Mozzarella and Garlic Rice Pilaf
• 4 6-ounce chicken breast halves for the pork chops
• 2 minced garlic cloves
• 2 vine-ripe tomatoes, sliced
• 8 thin slices fresh smoked mozzarella, cut from a 1-pound ball
• Extra EVOO, for drizzling
Do not chop or tear all the basil. Keep 8 leaves whole, then shred or tear the rest.
Prepare just as for the first recipe, but when you start the rice, melt the butter in the saucepan and sauté the minced garlic for a minute or so, before adding the water. Finish as before.
Prepare the chicken exactly as you would the pork, giving an extra minute on each side. After you’ve glazed the chicken breasts top with alternating layers of tomato, whole basil, and smoked mozzarella, using 2 slices of each per breast. Drizzle EVOO over the tomato, basil, and cheese and season with salt and pepper. or TRY... Balsamic-Glazed Swordfish with Capers and Grape Tomato—Arugula Rice
• 4 1-inch-thick swordfish steaks for the pork chops
• 2 minced garlic cloves
• 1⁄2 pint grape tomatoes, red or yellow, halved
• 3 tablespoons capers, drained and coarsely chopped
• 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (a handful)
Prepare just as for the first recipe, but when you begin the rice, melt the butter in the saucepan, sauté the garlic for 1 minute before adding the water. Cook as directed. Add the grape tomatoes to the rice when tossing the rice with the arugula and basil.
Cook the swordfish as you would the chops but cook for 1 minute less on each side. When you remove the sauce from the heat and add the butter, add the capers and parsley, too.
Excerpted from Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats by Rachael Ray. Copyright © 2005 by Rachael Ray. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.