Vanilla Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Roasted Pears

Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Karista's Kitchen, Kid Friendly, Pork | 50 comments

Vanilla Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Roasted Pears
Vanilla Spice Rubbed Pork

Vanilla Spice Rubbed Pork with Roasted Pears

I think the vanilla bean is underused in savory cooking.  It’s a uniquely flavored spice that can certainly make any dessert taste spectacular.  But it can also make a plain pork chop light up the dinner hour.

You guessed it.  I had some pork chops that needed to be prepared, and a few pears that had seen better days.

I also had two vanilla beans that have been staring at me every time I open my pantry doors.  I can’t remember why I purchased them, but I had them, and darn it, I was going to use them.

Now, coming up with the right blend of spice, herb and seasoning was the trick.

I blended a few different versions of this spice rub and Ranger Craig chose the winner.  I have to agree, this spice rub is fragrant, immense in flavor and complementary to the sweetness of the pears.

Delightful is the word that comes to mind. :)

Rosemary and Ginger playing; Cocoa posing for the camera. Pepper declined to be photographed.

Another delightful topic… my baby chickens. :)  My friend, Mandy over at The Complete Cookbook,  has asked about my baby chickens and I finally had a moment to capture a few pictures of my growing girls.

Cocoa, Ginger, Rosemary and Pepper.  They are growing and cheeping non-stop and now spend a few hours outside each day.  Cocoa is the friendliest, always hopping onto my hand or arm as I reach into their crate.  I think she’d live in the house if she could.

Wishing you all a most delicious week!

Loads of Love,


Vanilla Spice Rubbed Pork Chops with Roasted Pears

Serves 4

Rub ingredients can easily be doubled.


1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

4 pork chops or pork loin chops (this rub also works well on a pork tenderloin)

2 tablespoons of oil or clarified butter

1-2 pears, thick sliced


Pre-heat the oven to 375F.

In a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or a bowl with a small spoon, mix together the vanilla, thyme, cinnamon, salt and black pepper.  If mixing in a bowl with a spoon make sure you distribute the vanilla evenly throughout the rub.

Spread the vanilla spice rub on both sides of each pork chop and toss the remaining rub with the pears.

Heat the oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat.  Brown the pork chops and then layer in the pears around the pork.

*If you don’t have an oven proof skillet, transfer the pork chops to a baking dish and then add the pears to the baking dish with the pork.

Place the oven proof skillet (or baking dish) in the pre-heated oven to finish cooking.  Usually just another 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pork chop.  The pork is done when the internal temperature has reached 145F.

Remove from the oven and serve with creamy polenta or sweet potato hash (from The Attainable Gourmet) and wilted winter greens.

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  1. How adorable are your baby chicks! And their names…. perfect!! Hope you are having a fantastic Tuesday!

    • Thanks Amber! I do love my baby chickens. :) I thought naming them after herbs and spices would be fun. Sometimes we call Tank (our Cairn Terrier) Pork Chop… so he doesn’t feel left out. LOL!

  2. You’re right.. I haven’t used vanilla in a savory dish before, it would be fantastic. I love your birds.. it would be awfully tempting to bring those little sweeties into the house,now wouldn’t it? xx

    • Thanks Smidge! I’m a huge vanilla fan to begin with so it seemed only natural to use it on my pork chops. LOL! And I do love my baby chickens. Have a fabulous week!

  3. Ooh, vanilla spice. That sounds delicious on pork chops!

    • Thanks! It certainly creates a new twist on the old fashioned pork chop. :)

  4. Wow your baby chicks are getting so big already. I like how they are still fluffy but have some formed feathers too. Vanilla and pears is such a beautiful combination.

    • Thanks Bam! I too love the vanilla and pears combo. One of my favorite combos. Hope you’re doing well!

  5. So wonderful! Seriously! Karista, I love the addition of pears to this 😀

    • Thanks Frugal! It’s one of those simple, inexpensive, seasonal dishes I absolutely love. Lots of flavors going on but it didn’t take hours to prepare. :)

  6. I was so excited to see pics of your little chicks Karista, and thank you too for the link back and mention *big hug*.
    Pork and pears compliment each other so beautifully and to bring vanilla into the mix must be sublime. Will have to try your rub.
    Have a beautiful day.
    :-) Mandy xo

    • Thanks Mandy! And you are so welcome :) Do try the rub sometime. It’s even yummy on other cuts of pork. My fave being a pork tenderloin. Yum.

  7. Nice idea, the vanilla!

    • Thanks Rosemary! I love the simplicity but with huge flavor. Perfect for my busy weeknights. :)

  8. Nice to see your “spicey” chicks! Love vanilla everywhere …savory dishes too. I had it in pumpkin soup and it was amazing! Beautiful dish Karista!

    • :) Thanks Barb! They are so cute even if they’re now going through their ugly duckling phase. Ooooh! Vanilla in pumpkin soup sounds divine!

  9. That’s brilliant – wish I’d seen it before dinner last night.
    The chicks are growing fast!

    • Thank you! I do love the simplicity of the dish and using it with seasonal fruit. Although Ranger Craig much prefers this with roasted apples instead of pears.

  10. It looks exquisite!

    • Thanks Sibella! And thank you so much for stopping by. :)

  11. The chickens are growing up – such cuties !! I’d love to have some animals, maybe one day……

    • :) I do love those little chicks Claire. So much fun!

  12. Gonna have to try this, no doubt about it. 😀

    • I hope you like Richard!

  13. A most delicious week! I’m with you Jatista, my favourite combination for (at home experimentation) is a vanilla butter for seafood a’la Heston Blumenthal. I’ve used it (with fish) and shellfish, it does exactly what you describe, it perfumes, complements and enhances any sweetness! Truly sensational

    I love pork chops and I’m guilty of doing just plain grill (salt & pepper,) I gotta get my guy to be more adventurous like your family 😉

    • Whoops, apologies for the typo Karista! (My bad,)

      • Mmmmm…. vanilla butter for seafood. Ok, that sounds divine Alli! And no worries about the typo. Happens to me all the time. :)

  14. I have vanilla infused butter on my bucket list to poach crayfish in. Thanks for the inspiration to get it done :)

    • Oh I love vanilla with seafood! My sister makes this divine Lobster with a vanilla sauce over linguine. Divine. Can’t wait to read all about your vanilla infused butter!

  15. Thanks for the great idea of using vanilla beans this way – the fragrance must have been intoxicating :)

    • Yes it was Danny! Made for a nice change with Pork Chops. :) Happy Thanksgiving Danny!

  16. I’m bookmarking this recipe for next year when I have another crop of pears in our orchard…it looks and sounds delicious.

    • Thanks so much Karen! It was a lovely pork chop dish. :)

  17. How do you always manage to fit into my cooking universe just so perfectly? I am making a vanilla parsnip, pumpkin soup this weekend AND I have some giant pork chops from the farm that I wanted to cook this weekend but have been feeling a bit uninspired….Also, your girls so are cute!!

    • Oh I cannot wait to read about that soup! Yum! And you know what they say… great minds think alike. :)

  18. I’m all for pork and fruit. And vanilla as a savory. I once did vanilla wasabi seared tuna.
    The plate looks perfect for autumn. And the chicks are too cute!

    • Oh yum! Vanilla wasabi seared tuna. Ok, I think you need to blog that one. :)

  19. Vanilla?! On meat?! I would have never thought of it, but now that you mention it, it seems like a genius idea. Love it!

    • Hahaha! Oh how I wish I could take credit for using the vanilla as a savory spice. It’s been done before but you’ll mostly find it in seafood dishes or infused vanilla butters for shellfish. My sister makes this divine Lobster pasta with a vanilla creme sauce. Yum!

  20. I cook pork chops often and fruit goes so well with them. This truly is a lovely sounding dish.

    • Forgot to add that when I came home from our trip there were a couple of pears that I salvaged from the orchard. I’m definitely trying this.

      • Thanks Karen! I hope you enjoy it :) And you’re back from your adventure… I’ll have to come over and read the rest of your posts. I’m living my European vacation through your posts.

  21. My goodness this has me mouthwatering…! We have similar recipes in Mexico that involve rubbing meats with vanilla pods- they really are wonderful.

    • Oh that does sound wonderful! I do love Mexican cuisine. One of my favorites. In fact, I’m preparing turkey and roasted pumpkin enchiladas verde for dinner tonight. :)

  22. Crikey…I’m sold on this, sending it to the printer as we speak, and my wonderful partner will rustle it up for sure! Cheers, Baz

    • :) Hope you enjoy the recipe Baz. I was just browsing your blog and WOW! You’ve adventure is impressive. Bon Apetit!

      • Thank you and I was just admiring your Cessna 182, As will as falling out of them we owned and flew a Piper Arrow for many years… good luck out there, looks like your not wasting a minute of your day either.

        Life, strewth, you’ve gotta love it hey! Cheers Baz

  23. Karista, this is a perfect meal! I love the vanilla spice!
    Those baby chicks are so adorable : )

    • Thank you! I adore vanilla and simply adore it used in savory dishes. I do love my baby chicks! They are getting so big now and are outside in the hen house and little play pen full time now. I miss them being in the house. My husband does not. LOL! Happy Holidays!


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