07 September 2009

Lean pork loin chops baked in a sweet, tangy peach sauce infused with spicy ginger. My inspiration was Gingered Pork and Peaches from iVillage. But, of course, I have changed it quite a bit. Here's my version.

Ginger Peach Pork Chops

1 tbsp olive oil
4 boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of visible fat
Salt and pepper
3 cups peaches, peeled and chopped (4-5 peaches)
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

Preheat oven to 350°. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook pork chops for about 5 minutes or until the chops are browned on both sides.

While the pork chops are cooking, place the remaining ingredients in a blender and mix until the ingredients are well incorporated but not pureed.

When pork chops are done, remove from skillet and place in an 8” glass baking dish. Pour peach sauce over them and cover the dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes, uncover, and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove chops and place on serving dish. Spoon some of the peach sauce over them. Serve remaining sauce at the table for dipping.

Makes 4 servings.

The original recipe didn't involve the oven. You were supposed to cook the chops through completely on the stovetop, then just pour the raw sauce on them before serving. There's nothing wrong with doing it that way, I just thought baking it would do two things. First, it would reduce the dryness of the pork. I have a horrible time with boneless pork loin chops. They are lean, and therefore, dry out easily. This summer Jim was forbidden from grilling pork chops because they always came out tasting like shoe leather. I have the same problem with them on the stovetop. The one pork recipe I make (Onion Soup Pork Chops) that produces really moist pork chops, has them baking in a sauce for about an hour. I know that part of it is because I use bone-in chops for that, but I think that the baking is good for moisture retention too. The finished result was more tender than any lean pork I've had for a while, so I guess it worked out pretty well. The second reason I wanted to bake them was I thought that baking them in the gingery peach sauce would impart more flavor into the chops themselves than just pouring the sauce on before serving. The reason I uncovered it for the last 15 minutes of cooking was to let the sauce reduce a bit. I didn't want it thin and watery. Baking it uncovered at the end really helped to thicken it up. It made it a nice consistency for spooning over the chops.

The original recipe called for some things to be added the sauce that I skipped as well. Red pepper, green onion, and lemon peel. We don't like peppers, I wasn't sure that onion would taste very good in a peach sauce, and I didn't think I needed the lemon peel since I had lemon juice in there already. (The recipe writer should have listed lemon peel above lemon juice in the ingredient list, because it is very difficult to zest a lemon after you have cut it in half and juiced it!) I also added more ginger than what the recipe called for. I really like fresh ginger and I often find that recipes go too light on the ginger. The ginger is supposed to be a prominent flavor in this dish, so I wasn't shy with it.

This makes a lot of the peach sauce. And I even cut back on the peaches. The original called for 4 cups of peaches. I had 5 peaches and that only made a little over 3 cups. Even so, I had much more sauce than I needed to cover the pork. I think next time I will make only half of the sauce.

The dish as it went into the oven. There was so much sauce you can't even tell there are four pork chops in there!

I think next time I make this dish, I will try doing it in the slow cooker.

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