Ahhhh, the wedding is over (it was wonderful!) and the last bits and baubles are cleaned up. Now all that’s left is to replay it in our minds and smile at the happy memories. My wedding-cake-baking-project was a success (more on that when we get the pictures back in a few weeks), and life is slowly returning to normal. Although, I must admit that the first few days after the wedding I was a mush-brained zombie, not capable of coherent speech or the simplest of tasks. My system was ‘closed for renovations and rejuvenation’. My garden got sorely neglected during that time.
Somewhere in the last few weeks, Jack Frost visited to wipe out the tomatoes and zucchini I didn’t have the energy to get to, and fall crept in, in all its glory, to paint the trees in glorious autumn technicolor. I think I’m slowly waking up again.
Before the busyness of the wedding preparations hit us, I had made these porkchops and they were a definite hit. They were the right note of fruity and sweet and rich – a wonderful fall meal (that would work at any time of the year, really). I always get lots of lovely homemade jam from my mother-in-law Mabel, but for this chutney I wanted the chunky texture of whole saskatoon berries, so I must confess I snuck out and bought a jar (sacrilege when I have such a great store of homemade jam varieties in my pantry). If you can’t find saskatoon berry jam in your area, I’m guessing blueberry jam would be a good substitute, or even raspberry jam.
And then to add a beautiful layer of flavour that just made the chutney sing (good thing it sang, because I sure can’t), I used the saskatoon wine I won at the Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market for my Ruby Red Fruit Salad with a Pomegranate Glaze Recipe. This small-batch artisanal wine made by the Birds & Bees Organic Winery & Meadery in Brosseau, Alberta, had such clear, fruity saskatoon notes that every sip was pure pleasure. (You can also find their wine at the Old Strathcona Market and in liquor stores around Alberta.) We drank up the bottle with the pork chops and wished there was just a teeny sip more. Mmmmm, heaven.
The Southwest Edmonton Farmers’ Market is a gem waiting to be discovered – small, friendly, with a real feel like you are at an old-time neighbourhood market, but with an amazing modern-day selection of wonderful fresh and local produce and handcrafted food products. The vendors are all so friendly. And I love that it is from 4:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday afternoons, since my Saturday mornings are always so busy with other things. Their last market for this year is tomorrow, October 2 – only one more chance to visit before winter hits! That could be tonight with the forecast of showers and possible slushy snow – sheesh! (I need more wine.)
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Kitchen Frau Notes: I like using quinoa flour for breading foods to be pan-fried or sauteed. The flavour is richer than wheat flour, and as a bonus it is gluten free. Label your zip-top bag and freeze the leftover breading to use for future fried foods. If there’s not enough seasoned flour, just add some more to it, or mix it with other leftover breading mixtures. I keep a bag of breading flour on the go for many months, just adding new ingredients to it (and being careful to only combine gluten-free ingredients with other gluten-free mixtures) and keeping them labelled.
Pork Chops with Saskatoon and Green Apple Chutney
- ½ cup (60gms) flour (I used quinoa flour)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4-6 porkchops (pork loin rib chops are good), 1-1½ lbs/450-700gms
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
For the chutney:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 green apple (Granny Smith variety)
- ½ cup (120ml) red wine (if you have a saskatoon wine, great!)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ½ cup (120ml) saskatoon jam
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Mix the flour, salt and pepper in a heavy duty zip-top plastic bag. Place the pork chops in the bag, seal it and flip and flop them around until they are coated with the flour on all sides.
Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet (I like cast iron) over medium heat. Add the oil and butter and heat til the butter sizzles. Add the floured pork chops and sauté them until golden on each side, turning once. The time will depend on the thickness of the chops.
While the pork chops are browning, finely dice the green apple. Heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the diced apple and sauté, stirring often, until the apple is translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the red wine, turn the heat to medium-high, and continue cooking and stirring until the wine is reduced and absorbed by the apples. The mixture should have no visible liquid left, but not be totally dry either. This should take about 5 more minutes.
Stir in the mustard, saskatoon jam, ginger and cardamom. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer chutney for 2 more minutes. Keep warm until the pork chops are cooked. (If you timed it right – they should be finished around about the same time – good work!)
Serve the pork chops with the chutney and a few wedges of green apple, and have a glass of the wine left in the bottle for the ultimate flavour layering.
Serves 4 to 6
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