As the year draws to a close, we decided to try to clean out the freezer somewhat to make room for all that great stuff we want to make in '08. We had some beautiful pork chops that were just begging to be used on this chilly winter night. After spending the holidays in the cold midwest, it was time to fire up the grill! Also, in the freezer was a batch of Sweet Onion Jam that we made prior to leaving town to use up the rest of our CSA onions. I thought it would be a great topper to the pork.
While in my homeland of Minnesota, I indulged in my favorite grain; Minnesota Wild Rice. I couldn't wait to have it again, so I made a big batch to serve with the pork and eat for the next few days. Contrary to the name, wild rice is actually a grain. Not only is it delicious, with a nutty and earthy flavor, it is a wonderful source or protein and fiber.
We paired the pork and wild rice with the 2004 Timbuktu Big Block Red. An Australian blend of Cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, shiraz, merlot and malbec. It went quite well with the meal since we had so many flavors going on, but it wasn't as good as I remembered it. But then, that is what makes wine interesting- even if you've had the wine before, each bottle has it's own personality.
GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH GORGONZOLA and ONION JAM
2 pork chops (or more if you want)
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh tarragon (or use a mix of whatever fresh herbs you have on hand)
salt and pepper to taste
Clean pork chops and cut a slit horizontally through each chop to "butterfly." Stuff each chop with a couple of tablespoons of the cheese and lay the sprigs of herbs over cheese. Close the chops and use toothpicks to hold together if you need to. Sprinle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes depending on the thickness of chops. Serve topped with Sweet Onion Jam.
SWEET ONION JAM adapted from the Mustards cookbook
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced onions
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. red wine
2 Tbsp water
Heat the oil in a skilet over med. heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-8 minutes, until tender and transclucent. Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 min. Ad all the remaining ingrendents and cook, stirring often to avoid scorching, for 20 min. or until thick and jamlike. The slower you cook it, the richer the jam will become.
1 cup dry wild rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can water chestnuts
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup sliced, shitake mushrooms
1 tsp. dried thyme
I did this in a rice cooker, so I added everything at once and let it cook until done. If you do not have a rice cooker, do the rice according to the package directions. You can add the mushrooms, chestnuts, etc. to broth when you add the rice. Be forwarned, wild rice takes as long or longer than brown rice...