12 Days of Foodie Flava – Beer & Balsamic Braised Pork Chops

Have you ever come across a word or a recipe tip and by-passed it because you had no idea what they were talking about, but then at some point you decide to do a little more research just in case you’re missing out on something delish?! That was me with “braised.” I had no idea what that word meant, but I kept coming across it on (of course) Pinterest, and I finally decided that I was going to look up the definition of the word:  to cook (meat, fish, or vegetables) by sauteeing in fat and then simmering slowly in very little liquid.

Once I had the definition I decided to dive into a few of these recipes and see what sounded good… and easy. I love to cook and I love to eat, but I love “easy.” There are times that I don’t mind tackling something a little more intricate and complicated, but I really have to be in the mood for that. Fortunately, what I decided to put together – once I got a good understanding of what I should be doing – is easy. It takes a while since you have to slow cook it in the oven for an hour, but the preparation is minimal for an end result that is tender and delicious.

braised chops

2 thick cut (about 1″ thick) bone-in pork chops                                                                                 Salt & Pepper                                                                                                                                             1T minced garlic                                                                                                                                         2T brown sugar                                                                                                                                          3T balsamic vinegar                                                                                                                                  1C beer                                                                                                                                                       1/2 yellow onion, chopped                                                                                                                      4T butter                                                                                                                                                 1/4C rendered bacon fat                                                                                                                           1T Worcestershire sauce                                                                                                             Portabella mushrooms (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and set aside. Melt butter and bacon fat over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add chops and sear 3 – 4 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat and then remove pork chops from the pan. Add in onions, garlic, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, beer, Worcestershire sauce, and mushrooms, if using. Turn heat down to medium and set pan on burner. Once a slight boil begins, put the pork chops back in and spoon sauce over. Place in oven for 45 minutes to an hour, turning at least once.

BONUS RECIPE – Lemon Garlic Red Potatoes                                                                                 2lbs. red potatoes                                                                                                                                     2T extra virgin olive oil                                                                                                                           Salt & Pepper                                                                                                                                              3T garlic powder                                                                                                                                    Juice from 1 lemon

Turn oven up to 475 degrees. Cut potatoes in thick cubes and toss in olive oil. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Toss again to coat. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a baking pan or on a cookie sheet with edges and place in oven until butter has melted but not browned. Add potatoes to the butter and allow to cook 20 – 25 minutes or until tender, turning at least once.

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