One of the great things about cherries is that they are affordable only long enough that you don’t get sick of them. For just a few weeks you can load up on cherries without feeling guilty, and then they are gone again. I have discovered that anticipation is often a good thing. It keeps you from taking certain things for granted. While it would not be bad to take cherries for granted, I like that they are a food that is still very seasonal. When I walked into the grocery store and saw $1.79 a pound cherries I almost squealed. We have eaten 4 bags so far. It is nice to be able to get excited about a food.
Another great thing about the cherry season is that you don’t feel guilty cooking with them. Cherries are so good fresh and raw (and so expensive) that I never have enough left to cook with. But this glut of cherries sent me online and into my brain to come up with a good way to use them.
Cherries are one of the oldest cultivated fruits, along with apricots. Though we Americans think of cherries as tied to the American northwest, they were cultivated first around 300 BC in Eastern Europe. Romans and Greeks both loved their cherries, and the English word for cherries comes from the Greek kerasos. There were varieties of cherry trees in North America by the time the colonists came. The Rainer cherry and the Bing cherry (two of the best) were developed by crossing the two kinds of cherries. There are sweet and sour cherries. Sweet is what we usually eat raw, and sour are more popular in cooked dishes, like pie (my favorite).
We were going to grill the pork chops and then put the sauce on top. But a giant loud storm came through so that plan was ditched. You will note that the recipe calls for Cattleman’s Grill Coffee Steak Rub, Smoky Chipotle flavor. We first found this rub at our local butcher. We wanted a good steak rub, but we found that we like this best with pork. This is the smoke chipotle flavor that is moderately spicy. It went great with the cherries. The original is also very good. We use this a lot, and I recommend it for everyone.
Pan Seared Pork Chops with Cherry Compote
- 4 pork chops, about 6oz each. I used the not bone in kind, but use whatever you like. Be aware that this recipe is for thin (3/4in) boneless chops. If you have thick or bone in chops then you’ll need to probably bake them in a 350 deg oven for a little while until they are done (so you don’t overly burn the outside).
- Cattleman’s Grill Coffee Steak Rub, Smoky Chipotle flavor rub, or just salt, pepper, and garlic.
- Olive oil
- 3 Tbsp red wine (I used my cousin’s excellent choke cherry wine b/c that is what we had open).
- 1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
- 1.5 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
- 2 cups sweet cherries (I used Bing), pitted and halved
- 3/4 cup minced onion or shallot
- Put about 2 Tbsp of olive oil into a pan and heat on medium until just before the oil smokes. Rub the chops with either the coffee rub or salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook until done, but not overdone. Note if you have thick bone in chops read my note in the ingredients. You can also grill them, but you will loose a little flavor in the compote.
- When you remove the chops from the pan deglaze the pan with the wine. Deglaze is a method by which you put wine in a pan to get all of the tasty bits up off of the bottom. It burns off the alcohol and leaves a good flavor. It only takes about 30 seconds.
- Add in the onions, cherries, and rosemary. Mash down on the cherries to extract the juice and break them up a bit. add in the broth and simmer until it is reduced as far as you like.
- Serve the compote on top of the chops and enjoy!