Peach Pork Chops

I used the absolute last peaches of the season to make this sweet and tangy dish. I really like this grill and baste technique to keep the meat moist, particularly with leaner cuts of pork and chicken.

2 pounds thick-cut pork chops
1 pound of peaches, quartered and pitted (2 -3 peaches)
1/2 large red bell pepper, quartered
1 small onion, quartered
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (whatever is in the garden, I used thyme and rosemary)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
2 cups barbecue sauce (Pomegranate Pig in this case)

Combine peaches, pepper, onion, and herbs in a food processor or blender. Add just enough water to float everybody’s boat and then give it all a whirl until well-combined, but not pureed. You want it a little chunky.

Pour peach mixture into a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until it has reduced by about half (about 10 – 15 minutes depending on how much water you used). It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from heat. Add the barbecue sauce and stir to combine.

Set your grill up for a direct cook at medium high (400°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg is used an extender to raise the cooking grate a bit to give me a more even heat.

Pour about half the peach barbecue sauce into a shallow, flame-proof pan (a disposable 9×13 foil pan works great). Set the pan on the grill and heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and keep warm (I nestle mine right next to the grill).

Season the chops with a little salt and pepper on each side. Grill for about 5 to 10 minutes on each side to give them some nice grill marks and a bit of char.  Remove the chops to the pan and turn to coat each side. Put pan full of chops on the grill and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the chops hit 145°F internal.

Peach Pork Chops

Let rest 5 minutes then serve with remaining sauce on the side.

Peach Butter

Peach Butter

It’s a sad day here – our favorite produce market is out of those extra-tasty, late-season Colorado peaches that we’ve been enjoying so much. My dear wife had to practically mug the stock boy for the last lug she brought home, so I knew we were at the end. Thankfully, she let me have a couple of peaches to experiment with in some new (to me) recipes. First up – peach butter.

1 pound of peaches, quartered and pitted (about 2 -3 peaches)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown or raw sugar
Small rosemary spring

Put peaches and water in a blender or food processor and give them a whirl until they are pureed. Pour into a medium saucepan, add the sugar and rosemary, then bring to a low boil over medium heat.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until butter is thick enough that a spoon scraped across the bottom of the pan leaves a clear trail, about 15 minutes. Remove rosemary, let cool and stash in an airtight container (AKA old jelly jar) in the fridge. Yield 1 cup.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Wonderful, clean peach taste with just enough sugar and just a tiny hint of rosemary. It’s very versatile and is great both spread on toast and dolloped on pork chops. Must make gallons of this next year.

Brandied Cherries

I’ve always been a bit leery of those neon horrors they call Maraschino Cherries, so I decided to try making my own version using bing cherries.

1 pound bing cherries, whole with pits and stems
1 cup simple syrup (below)
1/4 kosher salt
1 cup brandy

Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a medium saucepan, combine 2 quarts water and 1/4 kosher salt. Bring to a boil and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Add the cherries and blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, until the water turns red and the cherries start to float to the top.

Drain the cherries into a colander and rinse with cold water.

Put the cherries in a quart jar, cover with the simple syrup, then add enough brandy to fill the jar to the rim (usually just a little less than a cup).

Seal the jar, invert it a couple of times to combine the goodies, and let sit in the sink until cool (you do not want this breaking open in the fridge). When cool, stash in the fridge for at least a week, inverting the jar once a day.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
Cherries that taste like cherries – what a revelation! The sugar made them sweeter, and the brandy adds a little kick, but they still taste more like cherries than their glow-in-the dark counterparts do. They make a fine addition to cocktails and would be tasty as a dessert topping too.

At one week old, they were a little harsh and not as sweet as I would like. I’ll give them another couple of weeks to mature and check them again.

One year ago – Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce, v 1.0
Two years ago – Hot Wings

Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops

This is another take on the Cherry-Glazed Pork Chops that I “borrowed” from fellow blogger Chris over at Nibble Me This.  I really like mixing pork with fruit. This basting sauce is so easy to whip up but adds a lot of flavor and helps to keep the chops moist.

8 bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup whiskey or bourbon
1 (10.5-ounce jar) Apricot jam (I like Kozlowski Farms with no high-fructose corn syrup or other crap in it.)
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Set up your grill for a direct cook at 400°F.

Combine everything but the chops in a 9×13 flame-proof pan (a disposable drip pan or old baking pan works great).

When the grill is ready, set the pan on the grate and heat just until it is warmed through and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, but keep warm nearby.

Season the chops with a little seasoned salt on each side and toss on the grill. Cook chops for 2 minutes and then flip. Let them go for another 2 minutes and then move them to the basting pan. Flip to coat both sides.

Return the chops to the grill and cook for another 2 minutes a side to start caramelizing the glaze. Move them back to the basting pan and flip to coat each side. Move the pan (chops and all) to the grill and let everything bubble, flipping often, until the chops hit 135°F internal, about another 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Move the chops to a serving dish and drizzle with the left over glaze. Let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
Very tasty chops – moist with a ton of flavor. I like the apricot with the pork and the way the whiskey not only adds its own flavor, but also helps everything blend together.

I didn’t get as much of the sweet/sour thing going with this recipe and might consider adding a little cider vinegar and brown sugar to the next batch.

Cherry-Glazed Pork Chops

Folks who know me know that I seldom follow a recipe exactly as written. But when fellow blogger Chris at Nibble Me This says that he had a winner of a pork chop recipe, I decided it was best to skip the improvisation and just to straight up copy it ;).

2 bone-in pork chops
1/4 cup bourbon
1/4 cup dried cherries, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Set up your grill for a direct cook at 450°F.

Combine everything but the chops in a 9×13 flame-proof pan (disposable drip pans work great here).

When the grill is ready, set the pan on the grate and heat just until it is warmed through and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, but keep warm nearby.

Season the chops with a little salt and pepper on each side and toss on the grill. Cook for 2 minutes (these were some thinner chops) and flip. Let them go for another 2 minutes and then move them to the basting pan. Flip to coat both sides.

Cook for another 2 minutes a side. Move them back to the basting pan and flip to coat each side. Do this one more time, then move the pan (chops and all) to the grill and let everything bubble, flipping often, until the chops hit 135°F internal.

Remove from the heat and let them rest for about 10 minutes.  Serve with the glaze spooned over the top.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Chris was right – he nailed it. I take zero credit for this dish (other than being smart enough to know a great recipe when I borrow one). Even though the chops were thin, the glaze kept them moist and added that wonderful sweet/tart flavor that goes so well with pork.

I’d make this again with no hesitation, but maybe with a little mustard… Yeah, that’d be nice. And maybe apples instead of cherries? Hmmmm… Maybe a little garlic? And more bourbon for the cook? Why not?

Oven-Baked Oatmeal

My version of breakfast usually focuses heavily on eggs, pancakes, and fried pork products. While that’s great on the weekend when I’ve got time to cook, it’s tough to pull off during the week. Monday through Friday I need something that I can take to work and enjoy while my computer is booting up.

I borrowed this wonderful breakfast recipe from fellow Accidental Hedonist alumnus Cheryl over at 5 Second Rule. It’s a seriously hearty and filling casserole with all kinds of fruity bits in it that was originally from Faith Durand’s cookbook Not Your Mother’s Casseroles. It keeps well in the fridge, so I made a double batch and my dear wife and I have had it every morning this week. She likes it hot with a little whole milk. I really enjoy it cold topped with a scoop of Greek yogurt.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups steel-cut oats
4 cups water
3 cups milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 cup raisins or dried plums
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease a 9×13 baking pan.  In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butter and then add the oats. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until the oats brown and everything starts smelling toasty. Add the water and milk and bring to a simmer for a minute or two.

Remove from the heat and stir in the rest of the goodies – sugar, fruit, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pour into the baking pan. Bake for until the top starts to brown, about 35 minutes. They might still look thin and soupy, but they will thicken up after they have cooled.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This is an excellent rich and creamy breakfast. The browned oatmeal and coconut gives it some crunch and texture, and the apples and dried fruit add a lot of sweetness without adding much extra sugar. Adding some Greek yogurt and a few chopped walnuts makes it a complete breakfast that sticks with me until lunch. I can see trying this with fresh apricots and dried cranberries, or with dates and almonds too. Thanks Cheryl
!

Grilled Peaches

  • 2 tbsp butter, softened slightly
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp candied ginger
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 3 freestone peaches or nectarines, halved & pitted
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted

Heat grill to high.

Combine softened butter, honey, vanilla, and candied ginger together in a food processor and pulse until mixed into a soft paste. Refrigerate.

Brush cut side of peaches with melted butter. Grill cut side down 3-5 minutes until you get good grill marks.

Turn peaches over and fill pit hole with a teaspoon or so of the ginger/butter mixture.

Grill for 1-2 minutes cut side up until the butter has melted.

Carefully remove from grill, top each half with with 1 a dollop of mascarpone, and serve with remaining ginger/butter mixture on the side.