Grilled Pork Chops with Caramelized Pears & Onion

I am having the most exhilarating day. The baby slept well. My “big kids” stayed in their beds until morning. I started today with my sun salutation.  Baby Boy and I ventured to Target and I had a non-fat vanilla latte from Starbucks. Now, I’m writing while listening to The Killer’s Sam’s Town album. And I’ll continue this happy feeling with a good total body HIIT workout and delicious lunch when I finish this post. But what I must also contribute to this day’s bliss happened last night: I made a yummy, easy, clean dinner.

Growing up, my younger brother often joked that I was a “fruitarian,” as I rarely ate much else. I’ve expanded my palate since childhood, but fruit remains a staple in my diet. That’s why this dinner is one of my favorites.  I am sure there are countless recipes for pork chops with or without onions and pears, but I make a stripped-down version that is simple to throw together in a pinch that also contains lots of protein and fiber, healthy fats, and a slew of potassium while being low in sodium.

I recently purchased a fruit and veggie wash that I used on the pear.  It only takes a few spritzes before you would do the normal washing of the fruit.  This rinses away the dirt and chemicals that may linger.  The pears I cooked with were not organic, so the spray gives me peace of mind, if nothing else.  Plus, pears always look dingy to me regardless of how delicious they are inside!

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Before I threw together this recipe, I had never eaten a pork chop in my life.  After having my daughter five years ago, though, I was tired of pretty much making two dinners each night–one that would satisfy my husband’s food loves and one that satisfied mine.  We were both stuck with the staples of our childhoods and the fear of what we convinced ourselves we did not like.  Having a baby and being a working mom gently nudged me towards more adventurous eating, and that meant trying pork. Serving it with my all-time fave, fruit, was the perfect first step.  Give this recipe a try–even if your house isn’t full of pork lovers.  The flavorful combination of the onions and pears enhances the “other white meat.”  It sure worked for me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 4 pork chops, the thinner and leaner the better
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • black pepper, to taste
  • garlic salt, to taste
  • 2 pears, sliced 1/4-inch thick (I used 2 green D’Anjou pears as the hold up well.)**
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, roughly chopped
  1. Prepare the brown rice according to package directions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. EVOO in a non-stick pan. Add onions and pears, tossing frequently. Cook over medium heat for 5 min., then lower the heat to low for another five or until both take on a caramelized brown color at the edges.
  3. Coat the pork chops with EVOO and season to taste with black pepper and garlic salt. Grill 3-4 min. per side, depending on thickness.
  4. Plate rice, then top with a chop and the onions and pears. Serve immediately.

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You could easily trade out EVOO for the oil of your choice and use regular salt instead of the garlic salt.  We enjoy the simple flavor each provides.  If brown rice is bland for you, try preparing it in a low-sodium chicken or veggie broth for some added flavor. This recipe is quite basic, so you can easily make it your own.  Let me know how you enjoyed it, or if you have any changes you found work.

**Don’t have pears on hand?  I’ve made this with apples and it is equally yummy!

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