skillet pork chops, hot and cold blueberry salsa
Stress got the best of me recently, in a cavalcade of anxiety and insomnia, deep-to-the-bone aches and an existential explosion of that olde “WTF is this life I am living?!?!” crisis that seems to bubble up in those heightened moments of weakness and vulnerability. Proper meals were replaced by a lot of eating whilst standing and/or thinking that eating-peanut butter-straight-from-the-jar-at-4am-while-Twitter-creeping-because-I-couldn’t-sleep counted as a solid meal and/or breakfast. Breeeeathe.
It’s funny how quickly we lose ourselves within ourselves, looking outwards at those around us and feeling like we could be just like them if we only pushed ourselves a little further, worked just a little harder, stretched ourselves just a little bit thinner, and all the while ignoring the self within us screaming that things just were not right. I was reminded of that this week, of the fact that I can only be the best me, and that health and success can only be achieved when we accept that the body and soul inside of us deserves to be loved, respected, and is 100% enough.
Now, onto these pork chops! Having a bounty of berries and basil on hand, I crafted this dish on a night when I was feeling especially depleted, and with a deeply primal need for some protein and zen-like kitchen time. It was a delicious reminder to calm myself down, sit and watch the summer sun set out my open window, and eat like a lady, at a table, with a cloth napkin and proper utensils, appreciating the romance of a quiet summer eve with every bite.
• 2 pork loin chops, about 1 1/2″ thick
• 2 tbsp. ghee
• 1 heaping cup fresh blueberries
• ¼ cup red onion, very finely minced
• ½ of a small jalapeño chili, very finely minced
• ½ small poblano chili, diced into small small chunks
• 1 tsp. maple syrup
• 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• ½ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
• lime wedges, for serving
• salt and pepper
• salad greens, for serving
Allow chops to come to almost room temperature by placing them on the counter for about 10–15 minutes before cook time.
In a large, heavy, cast iron skillet, heat ghee over medium-high heat until it sizzles. Generously season both sides of your chops with salt and pepper, then place in the hot skillet and allow to cook for 3 minutes per side, being careful not to move them so they brown properly. Reduce heat to low, cover pan with a lid, and continue to cook for 2–4 minutes more, or until chops are done to your liking. You could use a meat thermometer here, or just go by feel (check this article for more cooking tips). Remove pan from heat and place chops on a plate to rest, covered in foil, while you make the salsa.
In a small bowl, combine ½ cup blueberries, the red onion, peppers, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar, and toss gently to combine. Return skillet to the burner and heat to medium. Add salsa mixture and allow it to cook in the leftover meat juices, just until berries are well coated and about to burst, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture back to its bowl, and gently toss in the remaining blueberries and basil.
Serve chops on a bed of lightly dressed salad greens, with blueberry salsa on top, and a squirt of lime juice, if desired. Serves two, but leftovers make a fabulous lunch salad the next day.