There are those of us who like pork chops, and there are those of us who like carrots. Problem is, how to mix the two together? In my family, following our Nuyorican roots, we normally served pork chops with yellow rice or bianda (assorted boiled root plants like taro, christophene and cassava). And, if bianda or rice wasn't around, then we did potatoes. We seldom, if ever, served it with carrots. Then came the inspiration of cooking pork with glazed carrots. Now, for the glaze you can use either honey, marmalade or, my favorite, maple syrup. Nothing could be easier, or tastier. If you want to be fancy about it, add some cheese, preferably a soft cheese like Boursin, goat cheese, Camenbert or even brie. However, do not use a feta cheese---it's too salty for this dish.Some also add roasted pistachios or almonds. This is optional, but it does give it a continental flair.
PORK CHOPS WITH GLAZED CARROTS
4 (10 ounce) pork chops
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 cup dry red or white wine
4 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute honey or marmalade)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 ounces fresh Boursin, goat cheese or any soft cheese
2 tablespoons roasted pistachios or almonds (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
1.Wash chops under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a bowl, combine the pork chops with the olive oil, pepper, garlic and oregano. Rub the seasoning thoroughly into the chops.
3. Heat a large frying pan or skillet (we prefer cast iron) over high heat. Add the chops and sear on both sides (about 2-3 minutes). Add the wine, cover pan, lower heat to medium-low and cook until medium-well, about 5 minutes per side. Remove chops from pan, set aside and keep warm.
4. In same pan, add butter, and once butter starts to melt, add water and maple syrup. When liquid starts to boil, add carrots. Season with salt and pepper, cover pan and cook until carrots are just tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook until carrots are glazed with the syrup.
5. Add dollops of cheese, roasted pistachios (if using), and thyme. Stir to mix.
6. Divide chops among four serving plates, and serve with glazed carrots.
Yield: 4 servings.