Monday, March 23, 2015

Baked Pork Chops with Peach Whiskey Sauce-Roasted Red Potatoes and Asparagus

As the snow melts and daylight stretches into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming: asparagus.
Asparagus is a spring vegetable. Take advantage of grocery sales and head to the kitchen for a first taste of spring.

Asparagus 101: Choose spears with bright green stalks and purple tinted tips. Make sure asparagus is dry before using as you don't want water to steam the asparagus in oven. If grilling asparagus make sure the heat is not too hot and use spears that are thicker . 
Baked Pork Chops with Peach Whiskey Sauce
Asparagus and Roasted Red Potatoes 
Cook's notes: When it's too cold to grill but you're craving barbecue, turn on the oven and bake pork chops in a sweet and spicy sauce.  Your taste buds might just think its spring.
I am not a food scientist on the 'why' but the combination of flavors using whiskey, cinnamon and balsamic vinegar were amazing when put together.  You just might find yourself licking the pan.  A ham steak could be substituted for the pork chops.
Cooking Tip: a reminder that liquor stores carry small airline size bottles of any kind of liquor and liqueur imaginable perfect for your cooking.  
Recipe adapted from "Southwest Comfort Foods" by Marilyn Noble  
  • 4 pork loin chops
  • 1 cup peach preserves 
  • 3 TB. whiskey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or Black Cherry Balsamic
  • 1 TB. lemon juice  
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • optional a dash of hot sauce
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat melt peach preserves. Stir in whisky, vinegar, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring often until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Taste first before adding in hot sauce. It might be spicy enough for your taste buds.  
  • Remove pan from heat. Set aside 1/4 cup whiskey sauce.
  • Pour remaining sauce over pork chops, and cover with foil. Bake for 40 minutes.  Let meat rest covered for 5 minutes.
  • Reheat reserved sauce and spoon over pork chops. 
Roasted Red Potatoes 
  • 6 medium sized red potatoes
  • 2 TB. Extra Virgin Olive oil or Tuscan Herb Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • combination mixture of 2 -3 TB. of spices such as rosemary and parsley flakes
  • Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Since potatoes will take about 25 minutes and asparagus only 12-14 minutes, start potatoes first.  
  • Scrub potatoes and cube. In a bowl combine olive oil and spices. Add in potatoes and coat well. Salt and pepper.
  • Spread out on half of the sheet and bake until fork tender. Stir once during the baking time.
  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears, woody stems removed
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves, minced
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds 
  • 2-3 lemon slices, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
Cooking tip:: Asparagus spears can be cooked on same baking sheet with potatoes.
  • Remove baking sheet from oven and arrange spears on other half of baking sheet. Coat with olive oil and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.  Arrange cloves in between the spears. Sprinkle with salt and place lemon slices on top.
  • Roast 12-15 minutes or until al dente not limp. Stir once during cooking time. 
  • Optional adding shaved Asiago cheese when serving.

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