Easy-as-pie Pork for Your Date Night -- or a Weeknight

Chow on 09.08.11
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Photos: Jaden Hair

This is a wonderful weeknight recipe that you can do with pork chops or chicken breasts, both work so well with sweet dried fruit. In fact, you can even use this same technique with dried cherries or plums.

The dried fruit is rehydrated in a little cognac, brandy or apple juice (the alcohol will mostly burn off in the cooking, but if you’ve got little ones, use apple juice).

brandy-soaked apricots and pork chops

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper, ground cumin and ground ginger.

spices and prep for pork chops

You’ll cook the pork chops about 80 percent of the way through – they’ll finish cooking in a later step. Remove the chops.

chops browning in oil

Cook the onions until softened, and add the apricots as well as the brandy/cognac or apple juice that they were soaking in.

sauteeing onions and returning pork to pan

And you’ll add the chops back in. (Yeah, I forgot to take that photo! Mr. Photoshop helped me a bit on that last photo!)

Apricot Brandy Pork Chops
Recipe by Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in half
1/3 cup brandy, cognac or apple juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 thick-cut pork chops
1 tbl olive oil
2 tbl butter
1 onion, sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Directions:
1. Soak the apricots in the brandy, cognac or apple juice in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the cumin, ginger salt and pepper and rub this mixture evenly on both sides of pork chops.
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook pork chops 3 minutes each side until browned and mostly cooked all the way through. Remove to plate (we'll finish cooking the chops in later step).
3. Return pan to medium-low heat and add the butter and onions. Cook onions for 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and pour in the brandy, cognac or apple juice and apricots. Let simmer for 1 minute.
4. Pour in broth. Return the pork chops back into the pan, snuggling them in the sauce. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the inside of pork chop is barely blush-pink.

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