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Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

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Light your charcoal

A veal chop is a spectacular cut of meat. But these cipollini onions (or other small onions) that go alongside are also special, and would go with almost any grilled or barbecued dish. They are first simmered with red wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and butter. Then, when they’re tender, you reduce the glaze and return the onions to the pot. You can do this a day ahead and reheat to serve with the grilled chops.

Grilled Veal Chops with Sweet-and-Sour Onions

1 pound small torpedo onions, cipollinis, pearl onions or shallots
2 cups dry red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
1 cup honey, or more to taste
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt (kosher or sea salt), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 thick loin or rib veal chops (each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and 12 to 14 ounces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

Allow yourself at least an hour to make the Sweet-and-Sour Onions.
Peel the onions, leaving most of the stem end intact; this helps hold the onions together as they cook. Place the onions in a large, deep saucepan, add the red wine, balsamic vinegar, honey and 3 tablespoons of the butter and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to medium and cook the onions until tender — they’ll be easy to pierce with a skewer — 12 to 15 minutes. If all goes well, the wine, vinegar and honey will cook down to a syrupy glaze at the precise time the onions are tender.  If not, use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a plate and continue boiling the sauce until it is thick and syrupy. Return the onions to the pan, if necessary and taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste and more vinegar and/or honey as necessary; the onions should be a little sweet, a little sour and very flavorful. If you add more vinegar and/or honey, return the pan to the heat to let the liquid cook down. You should wind up with about 1 1/4 cups. The onions can be cooked several hours, or even a day, ahead and reheated just before serving.

Set the grill up for direct grilling and preheat one zone to high.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Generously season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the veal chops on the hot grate at a diagonal to the bars. Grill the chops until nicely browned on the outside and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium. Use the poke test to test for doneness. Give each chop a quarter turn after 2 1/2 minutes on each side to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks.

Transfer the chops to a platter or plates and let them rest while you reheat the onion mixture. Just before serving, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Spoon the onions over the chops and sprinkle with parsley.

Source: “Planet Barbecue” by Steven Raichlen

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