Almond- and Espresso-Crusted Pork Chop with Chianti-Poached Pears

By author of Timber 2 Table Wild Game Recipes Print Recipe
prep time
cook time
5-7
serves
Medium
difficulty

Ever want to impress your dinner guests with a recipe that is a bit more involved? Maybe something that looks like a plate you would get in a nice restaurant? Try this Almond- and Espresso-Crusted Pork Chop inspired by a similar dish at one of our favorite Italian restaurants nearby.

Cook the pork to 165 degrees internal temperature for safety.

Besides the crust of ground almonds, espresso powder, ancho chili powder and a touch of brown sugar, the finished plate boasts chianti wine poached pears and cranberries for a touch of sweetness, candied pecans for a bit of crunch, arugula for a fresh peppery bite and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese for a salty, earthy finish. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar that has been reduced to a thick syrup tops the dish.

Serve the chop with fresh arugula, poached pears and cranberries and topped with Gorgonzola cheese and candied pecans.

While that sounds like a lot going on, in reality, it is pretty simple. The crust gets made in a food processor, just add the almonds, give it a whirl, then add the rest of the crust ingredients. The chops get coated with the blend, then browned in an iron skillet for a few minutes per side to brown. Once they have a good crust, just transfer the skillet to the oven for the pork to finish (wild pork should be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees). While the chops cook, poach the sliced pears and dried cranberries in the wine.

To plate, simply place the finished chop on the plate, surround it with a bit of fresh arugula and a few pear slices. Sprinkle over some cranberries, some candied pecans {check the snack section of your grocery), a handful of crumbled gorgonzola and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar that has reduced to a syrup.

I’ve mentioned on here before that, when it comes to wild pigs for the table, I like them in the 75- to 125-pound range. A hog that size doesn’t have a large traditional pork chop. To get around the small size, try cutting across both backstraps to make a double sided bone-in chop, or do what I did with this one, and bone out a whole ham then slice it into thick steaks.

 

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup roasted almonds, plain

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ancho chili powder

 

3-5 pounds of wild pork chops or steaks

 

Toppings

2 cups Chianti wine

2 pears, peeled and sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

Fresh arugula

8 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

4 ounces candied or praline pecans

 

1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced by 2/3s till thick and syrupy

 

Cooking Instructions

Begin by adding almonds to a food processor, pulse several times till almonds are chopped into a fine powder. Add the rest of the crust ingredients and pulse several more times until everything is mixed well. Pour the crust mixture into a shallow pan or dish.

While there are several ingredients, the dish is easy to make.

Dredge each chop in the almond crust mixture until the surface is coated on both sides. Into a cast iron skillet, pour enough olive oil to lightly cover the bottom, about an eighth of an inch deep. Heat to medium high and add the chops, browning for 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to a pre-heated 350-degree oven. Cook for 20 minutes and check for temperature. Shoot for 160-165 degrees internal temperature before removing the skillet from the oven and allowing the chops to rest for 10 minutes.

Dredge the chops in the crust mixture to coat both sides.

While the chops finish, heat the wine in a medium saucepan until it reaches a light boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the pears and cranberries. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. At the same time, in another saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar to a boil, reduce heat to a light boil and cook till reduced to a syrup, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Plate the dish just before serving so that the sliced pears are still warm.

 

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