Thursday, September 2, 2010

Those are some chops...

I have a bad habit of not writing anything down when I'm cooking. My excuse is that I'll write it down once I taste it. If it's not good, why bother? I won't be making it again anyway. The downside to that is that I'm constantly trying to recall what I actually put in a dish, and how much of each ingredient I used. I'm trying to get better, but it's hard to cook, take pictures, and take notes. But for this dish, I actually wrote down what I did! 

I also had a total meltdown while cooking it. 

For some reason, I have a problem cooking pork chops. The one and only time that I attempted to make them prior to this dish also ended badly. Shoe leather came to mind as I ate. Apparently I was channeling my grandmother as I fried the meat to a state of pork jerky. (To be fair, I never did have my grandmother’s pork chops. Maybe they were fine…but I’m willing to bet that they were overdone. Of course, that was a time when you didn’t eat pork unless it was well-done. Thankfully, those days are over.) 

That first failed attempt was a few years ago. Yes, they were so bad that I’ve been scared off of pork chops since then. But I figured I was ready to take them on again. I’ve gained skills and confidence in the kitchen over those years. Plus, I can make a mean pork tenderloin. This would be no problem… 

Pork Chops with Chipotle Peach Sauce 

2-4 boneless pork chops 


1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper 

Mix all marinade ingredients together in a Ziploc bag and add pork chops. Marinate for at least an hour (or more, if possible). 


2 peaches, divided use
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pureed chipotle in adobo sauce (see note)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white wine
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
5-10 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (thinly sliced strips) 

(Note: Buy chipotles in adobo sauce by the can, then puree both the chiles and sauce in a blender. This mixture will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or can be frozen.) 

Peel and puree one peach in a blender. Pour peach puree into a saucepan and add orange juice, zest, chipotle in adobo sauce, brown sugar, wine, and ginger. Over medium heat, whisk together and bring to a simmer. Turn heat down and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the second peach into a large dice and add to sauce. Cook for about 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and reserve. 

To cook the pork: 

Remove pork chops from the marinade. Heat olive oil in a stainless pan over high heat. Add to pan and cook pork for approximately 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. 

To serve:

Spoon peach sauce over each pork chop and top with basil. 


See how easy I made that sound? Here’s what really happened: 

Making the marinade was a breeze and the sauce went very smoothly. I was quite pleased with the smoky, spicy flavor that the chipotle in adobo gave to the peach sauce. 

Come cooking time, I was feeling pretty good about things, but still a little gun-shy about overcooking the chops. So, of course, this time I undercooked them. I didn’t know this until I put them on a plate and Andy cut one open. I’m fairly certain that he didn’t want to be the one to have to tell me that they weren’t done. But he did. And I freaked out. 

There was ranting and raving. There was cussing. There was talk of throwing them in the garbage and never cooking another pork chop as long as I live. While all this was going on, Andy calmly took the plate out of my grip and put the pork back in the pan, never saying a word. After cooking them for another minute or so, he put them back on the plate and acted like I hadn’t just been acting like a complete lunatic the entire time. I begrudgingly sauced and garnished, all the while muttering that they were going to be completely dry. At this point, Andy finally interjected that he was sure they would be good and maybe I should just try them. 

Not even a little bit dry. It was moist and tender, and the pork and peach sauce worked happily together in a balance of saltiness from the pork, sweetness from the peaches and spiciness from the chiles. 

Obviously there is a happy medium to be found and hopefully my next attempt will be successful and panic-free. 

For now, I’m thankful that I have a husband who tolerates my kitchen meltdowns AND can cook pork chops. What more could a girl ask for?


  1. you sound like you certainly have the temperament to be a professional have mellowed through the years but my staff still sees occasional glimpses of the madness! Your chipotle peach topping sounds wonderful....and pork chops are just a pain in the butt, you did well!

  2. I have never had any luck with pork chops unless they were smothered in cream of mushroom soup and baked. This recipe sounds wonderful! And nice save Andy!