Pan Seared Pork Chops with Pear Mostarda

I think I just need to tell you just right up front here… that my husband claimed this is the best dinner I’ve made him in months.  I cook for my guys pretty often- as you know, so this was quite the huge compliment.  I must say that I was most definitely in agreement on the awesome dinner assessment.  Ironically, this isn’t even a recipe I created myself.  It comes from Chef Elizabeth Falkner, and she created it for Harry & David using their amazing Royal Riviera® Pears:  Pan Seared Pork Chops with Pear Mostarda

When I’m making pork chops, I like to purchase the best I can find.  These are thick, bone-in chops from Whole Foods, and they were perfect for this recipe.  The pears are from Harry & David- their infamous Royal Riviera® Pears. Comice pears from your market are a proper replacement should you not have your hands on the Harry & David brand.

I’m partnering with Harry & David for Harry & David’s Seasonal Chef Program, featuring seasonally inspired recipes featuring Harry & David’s fruit. Lucky me… October is dedicated to unique interpretations of culinary creations featuring Harry & David’s famous Royal Riviera® Pear, that are easily re-created at home.  I have to tell you- this recipe may sound fancy and all using the term “Mostarda,” but it was extremely easy to make at home.  “Mostarda” is technically candied fruit cooked in a mustard-infused syrup (in this case- pears sauteed in honey and balsamic vinegar and mixed with mustard greens).

I had the opportunity to visit Harry & David and their pear orchards in person a couple of months ago.  They have quite the operation going with acres upon acres of well-tended, beautiful orchards.  Their pears are watched closely and treasured and cared-for until they are just right for picking and shipping.  I had a chance to meet someone in just about every part of the company- orchard workers, marketing execs, bow makers, basket packers, public relations reps, Moose Munch makers, and Charlie the Chocolate Scientist.  I love the company and how they run things around there.  These are good people.

It’s a wonderful thing to get a box of these pears from Harry & David in the mail (they’ve been gifted to me a few times on surprise from friends and relatives over the years).  They’re the sort of pear that will make you the pear lover you never realized you would be.  SO perfectly sweet and crisp and  delicious in every way.  My favorite way to eat them:  chop them up and add them to a salad along with some blue cheese.  And my new favorite way to eat them:  with pork chops!

It’s not often that I really gush about a recipe and am excited to make it again, but this is one of those recipes.  Pork is so often paired with apples, so it’s refreshing to see that it works wonderfully with pears too.  These chops are lightly seasoned and quickly pan-seared before finishing off in the oven and topping with the pear mostarda.  The sauteed pears are mixed with torn mustard greens, also a nice complement to the dish.  For more great recipes this fall season, you can follow Harry & David on Facebook to keep up with the latest recipes shared by their well-known seasonal chefs.

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Pan Seared Pork Chops with Pear Mostarda

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 20 min

A recipe from Chef Elizabeth Falkner created for Harry and David- using their Royal Riviera® Pears.

Ingredients:

PORK CHOPS:
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar

2 bone-in center cut pork chops, 10 to 12 ounces each
1 tablespoon olive oil

MOSTARDA:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Harry & David Royal Riviera® Pears, diced half-inch cubes (or Comice Pears)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon mustard powder or mustard seeds (I used powder)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
a few cranks of black pepper
1 cup torn mustard greens, for serving

Directions:

1. Grind together the fennel, peppercorns, salt and sugar. Use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. In a pinch you can place the spices into a freezer zip and crush them with a mallet. Rub spice mixture all over pork chops and let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

2. Prepare the chops: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Preheat a cast iron skillet to medium-high heat on the stove. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chops to the skillet and sear 4 to 5 minutes on each side, turning down heat to medium if necessary. Flip again and transfer to the oven for 4 to 5 minutes, until cooked to desired doneness (145 degrees is considered safe for serving, but the temperature will continue to rise 5 or so degrees as the chops rest so keep this in mind). Let the chops rest while you prepare the mostarda.

3. Prepare the mostarda: In a large skillet (I used nonstick) on medium heat, add the olive oil and then the onion. Cook the onions until they begin to soften (4 to 5 minutes), then add the pears along with the honey, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add a splash of water if the pan becomes too dehydrated. Set aside to cool a bit.

4. For serving: Toss the mostarda with the mustard greens. Set a pork chop on each plate and top with the mostarda. Serve immediately.

Tips:

*Try grilling the chops in warmer weather.
*I like to use bone-in pork chops found at more quality markets like Whole Foods.

*Mustard greens are easiest to find at specialty markets (like Whole Foods). The recipe can be made without them, but I recommend picking some up if you can- they're good!

Source: RecipeGirl.com (shared with permission from Harry & David)

Disclosure:  Harry & David has provided me with a stipend for time and materials invested in their Harry & David Cooks Up A Seasonal Chef Program with Top Culinary Experts.  All opinions shared about the product are my own.