Monday, January 16, 2012

Pork Loins with Caramelized Pears (You could use chicken....)

I ended up coming down with a gnarly cold this week.  I pretty much stayed in bed most of the weekend; however, my wonderful friend, Scott, helped me assemble my new treadmill!  I am feeling as though 2012 truly will prove to initiate a healthier, slimmer, better eating KK.  Additionally, I got to cook quite a bit, which is highly therapeutic to my current life situation.

Day 2 of my back-to-cooking weekend:  Pork Loins with Caramelized Pears.  I got this recipe from Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine.  The original recipe called for chicken breasts, but I used pork loins since I purchased a super pack of them this weekend.  It turned out fantastic!  Pears are probably my favorite fruit, and I've mentioned my passionate love for onions.  The pork turned out incredibly moist and flavorful, and I could see how chicken breasts would be equally delicious.  The original recipe also says apples can be used in lieu of the pears -- but in my opinion, why would ANYONE avoid using pears?!?!  I highly recommend this recipe to everyone -- whether you prefer challenging yourself in the kitchen or limiting yourself to boxed mac 'n cheese.  If you can slice, measure, stir, and turn, you can definitely create this masterpiece for the mouth.  I actually 1/2'd this recipe since I was only feeding myself, and I found all the ingredients very easy to cut in half.  I served this dish with a side salad, but it would also be delicious with long grain rice.  Enjoy :)

Pork Loins with Caramelized Pears
Serves 4
4 boneless pork loin chops (or 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 medium pears, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I used Light House)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Sprinkle pork (or chicken) with salt and pepper.  Brown pork in butter in a large skillet -- approximately 3-5 minutes per side).  Remove and keep warm on a plate covered in tinfoil.  Saute onion in the same skillet until tender.  Add pears and brown sugar, and cook 3 minutes longer, turning occasionally.  Stir in vinaigrette and thyme.  Return pork to skillet.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes, turning pork every 5 minutes or so.  (If using chicken, simmer uncovered 6-10 minutes, turning chicken occasionally).  Slightly cut into the thickest part of the meat prior to serving to ensure the meat is white and no longer pink.  Serve meat topped with caramelized pears.

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