Lodi is home to what is believed to be the world's oldest surviving Cinsault vineyard, as well as several 100+ year old Zinfandel vineyards. Lodi is also part of California’s agriculturally rich Central Valley, producing over 250 of California 400+ specialty crops. Lodi is well known for stone fruit production, including cherries. Pair this pork chop with a California Zinfandel or Cinsault.
- 2 10-oz. (283g each) bone-in pork chops
- 2 teaspoons (4g) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoons (2.3g) black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (28g) canola oil
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoons (14g) unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cups (330g) fresh cherries, stemmed, pitted and sliced in half
- 2 teaspoons (2g) fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- ½ cup (64g) dry red wine
- 3 tablespoons (45g) balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoons (21g) honey
- 1 tablespoons (8.5g) Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Remove pork chops from the fridge 30 minutes before you are ready to cook—this will help ensure they cook evenly. Pat them dry with a paper towel, then season both sides of the meat with salt and pepper.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the canola oil to the pan, let it heat until it shimmers, then add the pork chops. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, ensuring a dark caramelization all over. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the unsalted butter, garlic cloves, and thyme.
Once the butter has melted, carefully tilt the pan away from you so all the butter pools in one spot–use a thick kitchen towel or oven mitt to safely handle the skillet. Spoon the hot butter over the steaks, basting them continually for 1 minute.
Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of a pork chop to monitor the internal temperature and continue cooking over medium-low heat. Once it reads 145°F (62.7°C), remove the meat from the skillet and allow it to rest on a cutting board or plate while you make the cherry sauce.
FOR THE CHERRY SAUCE
Discard the thyme stems from the skillet, but do not wipe out the butter and garlic used in cooking the pork. Turn the heat up to medium, add in the remaining butter along with the minced shallot, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the shallot begins to soften.
Add the fresh cherries and the chopped thyme. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the cherries begin to soften and release their juices, add in the wine, balsamic vinegar, honey, and mustard. Stir to combine and make sure that you scrape up any browned bits from the pork chops from the bottom of the pan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. The wine will reduce and the cherries will burst and be super soft and juicy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the pork chops from the bones and slice against the grain, serving over the cherry sauce.