Pork Chops with Brandied Cherries

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This is a wonderful entree to make when cherries are in season.  They do take a bit of time to pit, but they’re well worth the time.

Note:
If you don’t have garam masala, you can improvise your own using 3/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.  The amounts don’t need to be that precise.

Original recipe

 

Pork Chops with Brandied Cherries
Adapted from New York Times

Yield: 4 servings

  • ¾ teaspoons salt, or more to taste
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala (see Note above)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 pounds of pork chops, 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 2 cups fresh sweet or sour cherries, pitted and halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme OR a dash of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sherry OR rice vinegar OR honey, or more to taste (use vinegar with sweet cherries, honey with sour cherries)

 

  1. Combine salt, garam masala OR replacement mixture, pepper, and allspice in a small bowl.
  2. Rub mixture all over pork chops, covering their entire surface.
  3. Let chops rest for 15-30 minutes at room temperature, or up to 24 hours, covered, in the refrigerator.  (I pit the cherries while the pork chops rest.)
  4. Heat a 10-inch skillet at medium-high. Add oil.
  5. Sear pork chops until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Add garlic to pan, then sear the fatty edges of the chops, using tongs to hold them up, for about 30 seconds to 1 minute each. (Flip the garlic after it browns on one side.) If the pan starts to smoke at any point, lower the heat.
  7. Transfer the pork to a plate, and spoon off all but a thin layer of fat from pan. (Leave garlic in the pan.)
  8. Add brandy to pan, let it simmer until the alcohol burns off (about 30 seconds)
  9. Add cherries, thyme, and 2 tablespoons water. Let simmer for 1 minute.
  10. Move cherries to the sides of the pan and return pork chops to the center so they can make contact with the metal.
  11. Cover pan and cook over low heat for about 7 minutes.  If you have an instant-read  thermometer (which I don’t), the meat should reach 130-135ºF (its temperature will rise as it rests).
  12. Transfer the pork to a cutting board or plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, add butter and vinegar OR honey to the pan, stirring until butter melts and coats the cherries. Taste and add more honey or vinegar, and salt as needed.
  14. Serve pork chops with cherries.
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