Balsamic vinegar simmers with caramelized onions for a sweet and sour velvety sauce for pork chops. Pounded to tenderize rather than flatten, the pork is seasoned boldly with black pepper before crisping in a skillet. Quick enough to pull off on a weeknight, this main course will impress guests, too.


Credit: Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey

Recipe Summary

50 mins
50 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 175°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to caramelize to a deep golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. If onion starts to stick to skillet or brown too quickly, add a splash of water to skillet as needed.

  • While onion cooks, working with 1 pork chop at a time, place chops in a large ziplock plastic freezer bag. Using the pointed side of a meat mallet, lightly pound chops to soften. Set aside.

  • Remove skillet with caramelized onion from heat; transfer onion to a medium bowl. Wipe skillet clean. Sprinkle chops evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the black pepper. Sprinkle evenly with flour on both sides, and shake off excess. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to skillet, and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Add 2 chops to skillet; cook until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meat registers 135°F, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer chops to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, and place in preheated oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking process with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 chops.

  • Without wiping skillet clean, return caramelized onion to skillet. Add 1/3 cup water and red wine vinegar; cook over medium-high, scraping bottom of skillet to loosen any browned bits. Stir in honey, rosemary, crushed red pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and reduces by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, and bring to a boil over medium-high. Reduce heat to medium, and boil, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cream. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, swirling skillet and stirring mixture until butter is emulsified and sauce has slightly thickened. Season sauce with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

  • Divide chops evenly over a bed of polenta among 4 plates; spoon balsamic sauce evenly over chops. Serve alongside cooked leafy greens.