Pork is one of the most versatile meats to cook with. Here is a straightforward recipe that not only is easy to make, but it is also fail-proof.

A perfect weeknight dinner for the whole family. Or the ideal date dinner that even your husband can easily prepare.

Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

This wonderful recipe is a perfectly seared and cooked pork chop served with caramelized onions. The whole dish is finished with a perfectly balanced balsamic sauce.

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I served over a bed of arugula salad, which balances perfectly with the pork chops.

A tremendous all-year-round dinner.

In this Article

There is nothing sweeter than caramelized onions.

When you cook the onion over low medium heat, in other words, sweating the onions, you are allowing the natural juice of the onion to come out. T

hose natural juices with olive oil or butter facilitate a beautiful caramelization. Your onions will become sweet and savory.

The most crucial step is to make sure you stir them frequently in the about 20 minutes that you have them in the skillet.

This timing is for a gas stove. It may vary a bit depending on your stove.

The red onion, once caramelized, is softer and sweeter and a great pairing with balsamic vinegar.

Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

What is Balsamic Vinegar?

Balsamic vinegar is sweet, dark, concentrated, and richly flavored. Used to enhance salad dressing, sauces, and marinades.

Also used with desserts.

Traditional balsamic vinegar is made only with one ingredient: sweet juice of pressed grapes, boiled to a concentrate, fermented, and highly acidic.

The most expensive balsamic vinegar is barrel-aged from 12 to 25 years or longer,  thus the high cost.

Do not be fooled by impostors, the authentic traditional balsamic vinegar is always labeled Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale and has a D.O.P., Denominazione di Origine Protetta stamp. A European Union certification guarantees the quality, production, and place of origin.

Something that I make and keep in my refrigerator is Balsamic Glaze. It keeps well and is also excellent with sauces, roasted vegetables, or over your favorite ice cream just because.

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed

Pork chops – bone in are my favorite. Have the butcher select all the same thickness, between 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

Olive oil – is used for cooking the pork chops and making the caramelized onions.

Red onion – yes, I am using a red onion! Once cooked, the red onion has the most delightful sweet flavor. Perfect balance with the balsamic vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar – added to skillet to deglaze the pan and to be blended with the caramelized onions. Use a medium-of-the-way pricing for your balsamic vinegar, no need to break the bank as balsamic vinegar can be quite expensive.

Thyme leaves – bring a touch to this dish that is quite nice to the palate.

Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

Equipment needed

Large skillet – to prepare the caramelized onions and cook the pork chops. I also recommend using a skillet with a heavy bottom. Either a copper from Mauviel or enamel cast iron from Le Creuset

Cooking tongs – to turn the chops and the onions while caramelizing.

Dish or cookie sheet – to keep your chops warm while you prepare the sauce

Aluminum foil – to cover the chops and prevent them from drying out.

Sharp small knife – to remove the fat band and slice the onions.

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Cooking tips and step-by-step instructions on how to make these delicious pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

Before cooking, I always recommend having all your ingredients ready to go.

You will have to do an extra step, which I highly recommend.

Pork chops have a band of fat on them around the meaty part. Make a couple of incisions in the fat band with a small knife. Do not pierce all the way through.

This step will allow the chop to cook more evenly and not curl up, thus not enabling proper cooking.

  • Start by caramelizing the onions by adding them to the large skillet and stirring frequently so as not to burn. While the onions cook, they release their natural juices. This juice is sweet and creates caramelization.
  • Once done, remove from the skillet and set aside.
  • Ask your butcher if he can get you or special cut  1 1/2 inch thick pork chops. The thicker the chops, the juicier they will be. Pat dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • In the same pan, caramelize the onions and add the chops, but do not overcrowd your pan. You want space around your chops so they can cook perfectly and evenly. Work on batches if you need to.
  • Cook the pork chops until a hint of pink is still showing. Letting them rest covered will finish the cooking process.
  • Cover and let the pork chops rest. This will allow the cooking to continue while keeping all the juices inside, thus keeping the pork chops very tender.

Meanwhile, add the balsamic to the skillet and deglaze the skillet. Add back the caramelized onions and gently simmer until the balsamic vinegar is reduced and the onions are well coated.

Season with salt and pepper. Serve over the pork chops.

Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

Pro Tip

Although I love and own a few Lodge cast iron skillets, when you work with acidic food, balsamic vinegar in this case, the acidity and the cast iron have a chemical reaction.

The vinegar will break down on the cast iron, thus bringing to the surface particles of your skillet.

I would strongly suggest you do not use them with this recipe.

What to serve alongside your caramelized pork chops recipe

I served the pork chops on a bed of arugula salad. However, couscous, rice, and roasted vegetables are also good choices of sides for this dish or pork in general.

Mashed potatoes are lovely, too.

Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to juicy, tender pork chops?

Resting the meat before cooking is a crucial factor. Therefore, leaving the meat on the counter is always recommended before cooking. Cover with a paper towel so nothing will go over it. Do not overcook them is very important too.

What is the best way to cook pork chops?

Frying chops over medium-high heat to start with. Once they are nicely seared and a great glistening crust is formed, you can lower the heat and finish cooking. It takes about 5 to 6 minutes per side on a thick chop.

Is it better to bake or pan-fry pork chops?

While you can use a few different ways to cook chops, baking is the easiest way to cook them to perfection. The hand-off method cooks your chops to perfection.

Equipment and Ingredients used to create this wonderful recipe


Pork Chops with Balsamic Caramelized Onions

5 from 9 votes
Pork chops with balsamic caramelized onions
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
A perfect weeknight dinner for the whole family. Or, the perfect date dinner that even your husband can prepare with ease.

Ingredients 

  • 4 pork chops, bone-in center-cup pork chops 6 ounces each (1 to 1 ½ thick)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper, coarse ground
  • cup balsamic vinegar,
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Instructions

  • In a very large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook stirring frequently until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside.
  • Pat the chop dry with paper towels and rub with salt and pepper both sides.
    Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add all the pork chops, making sure that they are not crowded in the skillet, you may have to cook the chops in 2 batches. Cook the chops until well-browned on one side, around 5 minutes, make sure that they do not burn.
  • Turn and cook the other side until the chops are done. If they start to burn, lower the heat to medium. Remove from the heat, place in a dish, cover with aluminum foil and let them rest.
  • Meanwhile, put the skillet back to medium heat and add the balsamic and scraping the skillet. Add the caramelized onions and simmer gently and the vinegar is reduced to coat the onions.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the fresh thyme. Serve over the pork chops immediately.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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Originally posted on September 20, 2020, updated on December 13, 2021