Pork chops are quickly seared, then finished in a sauce of blueberries, rosemary, shallots, whole grain mustard and red wine. Recipe below.
Search for blueberry recipes on the Google and you come up with pies, pancakes, muffins, scones, cobblers, crumbles, crisps, buckles… you get the idea. All are absolutely delicious, of course, but this kind of typecasting troubles the folks at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. They’d like to see home cooks be a little more adventurous in their use of blueberries.
So they invited bloggers to participate in a contest to create recipes that use blueberries in fresh ways. The contest, called Blueberries Meet Their Match, specifically challenged participants to combine blueberries with one of four possible ingredients—bananas, coconut, balsamic vinegar or rosemary. I chose rosemary and immediately headed in a savory direction.
Well, I say immediately, but the reason for this post appearing on a Saturday instead of the usual Wednesday is that today is the LAST POSSIBLE DAY TO ENTER. It seems nothing inspires me like a deadline. And while it’s a contest, you don’t have to vote for me. In fact, you can’t. Winners will be chosen (in January) by a panel of food professionals.
Blueberries could get by on looks and taste alone. The beautiful, indigo, tart/sweet berries are the second most popular fruit in the country. But they’re also really, really, really good for you. They’re one of the most antioxidant-rich foods you’ll find, so they offer protection against heart disease and cancer. Blueberries are also high in fiber and vitamin C. They may even reverse short-term memory loss and improve motor skills. You can learn more about blueberries’ health benefits at the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council website. You’ll also find more recipes there.
For this recipe, I took advantage of how well pork plays with sweet flavors, and I enhanced the blueberries’ tartness with whole grain mustard and red wine. The butter and shallots help take it all in a savory direction. Dry brining the chops for 15 minutes or so with coarse kosher salt helps keep them tender and juicy. I explain the process more thoroughly in this post.
Pork Chops with Blueberries and Rosemary
Serves 2 (or 3 or 4—See Kitchen Notes)
2 bone-in pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick, 8 ounces each (see Kitchen Notes)
coarse kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots (about 2)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed if frozen)
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
Dry brine the pork chops. Salt generously with coarse kosher salt, as much as a teaspoon on each side. Set aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse chops under cold running water and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels.
Season chops on both sides with freshly ground black pepper and some of the rosemary (maybe a third), pressing gently to help rosemary stick to chops. DO NOT ADD ANY MORE SALT. Heat olive oil in a large, lidded nonstick skillet over medium-high flame. When pan is hot, sear chops for 3 minutes on one side. Turn and sear for 2 minutes on the other side, reducing heat to medium. Transfer chops to a plate.
If your chops produced a lot of fat (mine did not), pour off all but 1 tablespoon. Add butter to pan and swirl to combine with fat in pan. Add shallots and cook until just softening, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid over-browning. Stir in remaining rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds.
Add blueberries, wine, mustard and sugar to pan and stir to combine. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Blueberries will start to burst. Return chops to pan, nestling them into the blueberry mixture. DO NOT spoon blueberries over the chops unless you want said chops to resemble dark blue back-to-school dungarees. Cover pan and cook until chops are warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes.
Plate chops and spoon blueberry mixture over and around them. Serve.
Serves two, three, four… I cooked two pork chops for this recipe, but there is enough blueberry sauce that you could make three or even four chops and have enough blueberries.
About those chops. We’re big fans of bone-in pork chops. They look pretty on the plate, and the bone actually adds to the flavor of the dish you’re cooking. But you could also use boneless chops.