• 4 pork chops, bone in, about 1 - 1 ¼ inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • A small bunch of sage leaves
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, EVOO, about 2 tablespoons
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup fig preserves
  • 2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup cloudy apple cider
  • 8 fresh figs or 2 crisp apples, for apples, peel, quarter, core, slice and saute 2-3 minutes in butter with a splash of lemon juice
For the cheesy mashed potatoes:
  • 4 Russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces taleggio, trimmed of rind and diced, or Fontina Val D'Aosta, shredded
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • White pepper
  • Finely grated nutmeg, to taste, about ⅛ teaspoon
Serves: 4

Preheat oven to 425˚F with rack at center.

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and press a few leaves of sage into chops. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and brown chops in EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Brown chops on both sides and remove, 4-5 minutes total. Add butter, melt, add garlic and shallot, stir a minute or 2, then add vinegar and melt preserves into it. Add mustard and cider, reduce 1-2 minutes, then add salt and black pepper to taste. Add figs or apples and stir, add chops back and transfer to oven for 12-15 minutes.  

Meanwhile, boil potatoes or make polenta (get my quick-cooking polenta recipe with honey, pepper and cheese here).

Cover potatoes with water, bring to boil, salt water and cook to tender, then drain and place back in hot pot; mash with cheese and milk; season.