I needed to put together a quick dinner for one when the wife had evening plans – enter Pork Chops with a Cherry Mustard Sauce. This dish came together from looking in the pantry and fridge and realizing that I had everything to make this. Pork Chops from the farmer’s market we meant to eat soon, Pink House Alchemy Dark Cherry Syrup, and a half finished bottle of dry vermouth started coming together in my head.
Pork is often paired with fruit for a very good reason – the sweetness of the fruit adds a new dimension to the pork, rather than competing with it. Since we have the Pink House Alchemy syrup, which is quite tasty, that could easily provide a sweet and slightly tangy sauce base while the dry vermouth would add acidity and herbal complexity. A little bit of dijon mustard and minced garlic deepened the flavors and the butter at the end gives it a velvety appearance and mouthfeel. If the pork chops were closer to an inch thick, I would double the time in Step 6 below for the same end cooking effect.
I really enjoy working with the Pink House Alchemy syrup. The Dark Cherry seems to be out locally right now, but other fruit forward syrups should work and pair with pork well, such as their Blackberry Sage. You can also make your own syrup by adding a cup of pitted cherries to a pot when you are making a cup of simple syrup.
I love working with couscous for quick dinners and lunches because of how fast it cooks. This herbed couscous is made with fresh herbs, but if you are using some dried herbs, you can add them to the water when you start the couscous instead of at the end.
Pork Chop with Cherry-Mustard Sauce
- Pork Chop, the weight matters less than the thickness – this one is about .5″ to .75″ thick
- Dry mustard – optional
- 1oz/30ml Pink Alchemy Dark Cherry Syrup (Or make your own by simmering cherries in a simple syrup)
- 1oz/30ml Dry Vermouth – You had a martini and now need to finish the bottle, admit it.
- 1 TBSP Butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 1 Cup Couscous
- 4 ounces/120ml/1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
- Parsley, chopped
- Basil, chopped
- Thyme, chopped
- Pre-heat your over to 350 Degrees and take the pork chops out of the fridge
- Generously season the pork chops with salt, pepper, and the dry mustard, almost like a dry rub
- While the oven is heating, put an ovensafe pan over medium-high heat
- Start the sauce by heating the Pink Alchemy Syrup, vermouth, Dijon mustard, and garlic in a pot over medium-low heat, stir or whisk to combine
- Lubricate your pan with the fat or nonstick method of choice and place the pork chop in the pan
- If it is thin, like this one, only give it about a minute to start browning and form a crust, flip and repeat for another minute
- Stick the pork chop in the over for 5 minutes to finish cooking
- Check your sauce, is it bubbling lightly and thickening? If so, let it be. If not, turn up the heat a little bit. Too reduced for your liking? Add an ounce of water or chicken stock to thin it out.
- Remove pork chop from oven and set aside to rest for 2-3 minutes, covered with aluminum foil.
- Bring 1/2 Cup chicken stock to a boil in a small pot with a tight fitting lid and add the couscous
- Cover, remove from heat, and let the couscous cook.
- Stir in chopped parsley, basil, or whatever other herbs you may have handy.
- Cut the heat on the sauce and stir in the butter
- Plate, spoon the sauce over, and forget about the dishes until you are done with dinner.