What’s pig got to do with it?

What’s pig, but a foodie-blog emotion?

I know, this ain’t a cooking blog, but one thing I do want to discuss here is using spirits in cooking. I’m just a novice here, but it should be fun to discuss what works well for us and what fails miserably.

One night last week, my lovely wife brought home a couple of nice pork chops from the Greenmarket. We had planned on grilling them over hard-wood charcoal, but the rains had other plans, so I started prepping them for the iron skillet. Jen recommended a bourbon reduction to glaze the chops, but as I seared the chops, I had another idea: pork chops and applesauce.

Now, it happens that we had no applesauce, but we do have Laird’s Applejack. What’s more, we had a small Mason jar in the fridge with fresh cherries steeping in Applejack. I meant them for cocktails, but Jen had also brought home more fresh cherries that night, so what the hell.

Here’s what I did:

  1. I seared the chops on both sides in olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. As the chops cooked, I pulled the jar of applejack-soaked cherries from the fridge. I removed six cherries and muddled them up with some of the applejack from the jar. I also added a splash of Angostura and a splash of rye.
  3. I removed the chops to a platter and tented them with foil.
  4. Then, I deglazed the skillet with the applejack-rye-cherry mixture. I stirred up all the crispy bits from the pan and let the alcohol reduce a bit.
  5. With the alcohol reduced by about half, I added two teaspoons of butter and cooked until the pan sauce thickened. We served that over the chops.

Yum! The pan sauce captured all the flavors of the applejack, cherries, bitters, and rye, without any flavor overpowering the others. What made this work was that, in mixing drinks, I had already started thinking about blending applejack, cherries, and whiskey. The only question was, how would it play with pork? I think it worked out very well.

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