Blue Christmas

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

With the holidays upon us, many of us will be called upon to entertain and get dinner on the table every night. Below is a recipe that works for both occasions.

The recipe is originally from Eat For Life, a bi-weekly column in the Dispatch Food section. The use of frozen blueberries is economical and the wine makes it elegant enough to serve to company. If you have a guest who is sensitive to alcohol, or if you'll be serving the meal to children, use grape juice in place of the wine.

BALSAMIC-GLAZED PORK CHOPS WITH BLUEBERRY WINE SAUCE

Makes 4 servings

3/4 cup frozen blueberries, thawed, drained

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

nonstick cooking spray

1 pound boneless pork loin chops (3/4 to 1-inch thick)

4 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine the blueberries and wine in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, pressing down with the back of a spoon to extract the juice.

Combine the olive oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, thyme, 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Spray the grill rack or pan with cooking spray. Grill chops for 4 minutes. Turn chops over. Cook 4 minutes longer. Brush vinegar mixture generously over each side of chops. Grill another 3 minutes per side or until cooked through, brushing frequently with vinegar mixture. Transfer chops to a plate. Let rest 5 minutes.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir well to dissolve cornstarch. Strain berry mixture through a sieve, reserving juice. Press gently on berries to remove as much juice as possible. Return juice to saucepan; discard fruit.

Stir vinegar-cornstarch mixture. Add to juice in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Drizzle sauce over chops.

PER SERVING: 192 calories; 25 g protein; 7 g carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 8 g fat (3 grams saturated); 60 mg cholesterol; 561 mg sodium.

Robin Davis is food editor of The Columbus Dispatch . She oversees the Food section, published each Wednesday, which features recipes, question-and-answer columns and reviews of cookbooks, wines and local eateries.