Cooking On A Budget: Blackberry Braised Pork Chops

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blackberry Braised Pork Chops


I've had a jar of blackberry preserves in my pantry for a while now and have longed to use them in an interesting way other than baking. Here's the deal: the only ingredient that was lacking from pantry, refrigerator or wine/liquor cabinet was the Port Wine. All the other components were available. I love when a plan comes together.

  • 6 - 1/2" thick bone-in or boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 cup flour for dredging
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup onion - finely minced
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 3/4 cup Port wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup blackberry preserves
  • 2 tbsp. water (If needed)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 2 tbsp. water for a slurry.
  1. To begin, get your onion minced and gather 2 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves. Measure out the rest of the ingredients except the butter and oil.
  2. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Dredge in flour, coating both sides. Shake off excess flour.
  4. Over medium high heat melt the 2 tbsp. butter with 1 tbsp. olive oil. When the pan comes up to a good heat add in the floured chops. Sear to a deep golden brown on both sides - about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the chops to a waiting plate.
  5. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the minced onion. Cook for a few minutes until the onions become translucent.
  6. Add in the fresh thyme leaves, stir and then de-glaze the pan with the port wine, scrapping up all of the good bits. Let the wine cook for 3-4 minutes or more to cook off the alcohol and allow the flavors to concentrate.
  7. Next, whisk in the chicken broth and reduce this down for a few minutes.
  8. Add the preserves and whisk well to incorporate. Turn the heat up if necessary to bring to a bubble.
  9. Then add in the pork chops and spoon some of the sauce over them. Add the water if necessary to have enough sauce.
  10. Reduce the heat to a simmer (I use a pot lifter on my burner to help.) and cook the chops covered for about 45 minutes to one hour until they are really tender. Turn the chops over half way through the cooking process.
  11. At the end remove the cook chops to a waiting plate or platter and cover with foil.
  12. If you think you need to thicken the sauce use cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. Mix the two together and whisk into the sauce over medium high heat. As it comes to a boil, the sauce will thicken.

Writer's Note: Since this was the first time making this, I decided that as good as it was it could of used a touch of heat to balance out the flavor. My suggestion is to add a few pinches of cayenne pepper when you add in the onion to the pan. Then later on taste for any additional cayenne or cracked black pepper to achieve the level that suits your pallet.

I've often said that I feel braising proteins like pork chops is the best way to achieve a tender piece of meat. Also, using a bone-in chop always adds extra flavor and picking out pork with tiny lines of fat running through the meat helps it to be tender. It's one of the reasons I slow braise pork ribs in foil with a touch of liquid in a slow and low oven for hours before grilling with a basting sauce. You will always get tender ribs if you do that.

The cost of this pork chop recipe: $5.28 for the Port Wine (store the left overs in the refrigerator if you only use for cooking), $8.97 for bone in chops (family pack 3# or more), preserves at a store like a Job Lot was $2.00 for a large jar and all the rest of the ingredients I rounded to $1.00. Total 17.25. Six people = $2.87 per portion. If you elect boneless the price is $15.48. Six people = $2.58 per portion. Add about $.90 for the potato and vegetable.
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