The bounty of fruit from our trip to BC was a little overwhelming when we first brought it all home. We had two boxes of peaches, one box of apricots, one box and one basket of nectarines, one basket of blueberries, and one box of cherries. By box I mean a 1.5 x 3 x 1 foot box, and the baskets probably held around 8 pounds of fruit. It didn’t seem like that much at first, but when I had to consider how to keep it all from going bad, I realized we might have been a bit too eager. Luckily we had two coolers with us for the drive home, and once we got home we used those coolers for about another week to help us keep things cold. Still, I’m sad to say that we had to throw away some fruit simply because they were going bad faster than we could use them. Throwing fresh fruit away makes me cringe; what a waste!
What did I find?
So in my hasty quest to use the massive amounts of apricots we bought (I blame the apricots on Tavis specifically, as I was going to buy much less than he ended up persuading me to get), I decided that perhaps I could use some for an entrée; after all, one of my go-to recipes for chicken uses peach jam, and I figured I could use fresh fruit instead to go with the pork chops I’d taken out for dinner. Plus, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to cook pork chops; they’re boring and less versatile compared to tenderloin or a roast. A quick search on Almighty Google revealed any number of recipes using apricots and Dijon mustard with the pork chops, but Dijon is disgusting on so many levels so I skipped over those pretty quick. Finally, I found this recipe for Apricot Soy Pork Chops on MyRecipes.com that used very few ingredients, and the slight Asian flair was right up my alley.
What did I change?
This recipe is so simple – it only has 7 ingredients including the pork chops – that I didn’t feel the need to change much. Of course my intention was to use fresh apricots all along instead of preserves, so I substituted them with finely chopped apricots. The apricots are so gooey that it kind of looked like preserves anyways.
The only other thing I initially changed was the garlic situation, which isn’t really a change at all; this recipe calls for bottled minced garlic which we never have on hand because I really don’t need yet another jar of something in my fridge. Besides, it’s not hard to run a few cloves of garlic over the rasp for fresh garlic-y goodness and a smell that instantly livens up the kitchen. In any case, I had plenty of time to mince the garlic and chop the onion and apricots while the pork chops seared in the pan.
The only other thing I ended up changing, which I only just realized while typing this up, was the amount of sauce. This recipe uses 4 pork chops and I only cooked two, but I neglected to cut the list of sauce ingredients in half as well, so I ended up unwittingly doubling the sauce. This turned out to be a good change, as I thought the ratio of sauce to pork was perfect. Now I know to double the sauce on purpose if I ever make this again (the only reason I wouldn’t is because I don’t often have apricots on hand).
What did I learn?
This recipe confirmed for me that I really don’t need preserves when I have the fresh fruit available; preserves also contain extra sugars and possibly other non-essential ingredients when making a sauce. The only caveat to this would be if the cut up fruit did not break down and thicken to the consistency of preserves, in which case some adjustments may be necessary. For apricots though, there isn’t much difference between preserved and fresh once it’s chopped.
I have to say that I also learned that pork chops might just be as versatile as chicken. Like I said before, pork chops can be pretty blah, so using fruit really jazzed them up and made them palatable. I’ll still lean towards other pork cuts for cooking, but at least I have a new technique up my sleeve.
I’m glad I was able to find a recipe to use up some apricots that didn’t involve Dijon (although I could have substituted with regular mustard as per usual). I was also happy with the simplicity of this recipe, as that gave me extra time to make a beautiful chopped kale and beet salad which I’ll share with you very soon (two new recipes in one night – I was on fire!). It all went well with some steamed broccoli on the side. Tavis agreed it was all delicious, so this recipe was a success!
What is your favourite way to cook pork chops? I’m always interested in new ideas!