Warm Peach & Cranberry-Braised Pork Chops

Subtle warmth in spice, lemongrass, dill, and caraway-stewed tomatoes along with surprising happy bursts of sweet tartness from peaches and cranberries all pair wonderfully with seared pork. I feel seriously happy, calm, and warm inside after eating this, particularly over a bowl of cauliflower rice. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Ingredients:

Pork Braise:

  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium jarred tomato passata/puree
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen cranberries
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen peach slices
  • 1/4 cup dried white onion flakes
  • 1 generous Tbsp jarred lemongrass paste (I used Mekhala Lemongrass Turmeric Paste; if you can’t find this, you can sub with jarred Thai Green Curry paste)
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in pork chops
  • 1/4 cup Warm Chai BBQ Spice Rub

***Optional: If you prefer a more traditional ‘bold-barbecue-pork punch‘ to your braise versus subtle warmth, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons each of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper, as well as up to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to your braising liquid while it cooks. If you prefer things on the milder side, keep it as it is.

Stewing time: 1-2 hours
Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Yields: 10 servings

Preparation:

  1. In a large soup pot, stir together tomato passata, lemongrass paste, dill weed, and lemon juice. Once incorporated, add frozen peaches, cranberries, onion flakes and water: set the pot to boil on the stove, then simmer on medium-low heat while searing the pork chops.
  2. Combine the Chai BBQ Spice Rub seasonings in a large bowl and coat the pork chops with the rub. Let the pork chops rest in the bowl while heating 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet or pan on medium-high heat.
  3. Once the skillet is heated, sear the pork chops until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
    • Do this in batches so as not to overcrowd your pan– deglaze your pan with additional water, clean away any burnt residue, and then add 1 Tbsp of olive oil each time for the next batch.
    • ***I do not recommend reusing any burnt spice and fat residue as ‘seasoning’, despite common practices. Please see my super important health notes below on this!
  4. Place each browned pork chop into the simmering peach-cranberry braise. Once all pork chops have been browned, baste the submerged pork chops with some of the braising liquid, and cover. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 hours until pork is softened, and enjoy.

Yasmine’s notes (and important health notes too):

This recipe was born as a combination of four retired salads I had originally posted on Instagram–

Where each of these salads held an effort to increase antioxidants and decrease reliance on overly salted, concentrated foods for flavor (hence the ‘mindfulness’), I later realized they were kind of a miss in terms of textures, hence the retirement. However, sharing each of my 31 Days of Salads in March 2023 was a *linked* venture for me to do: more on just how this venture was *linked* will be in Torus Link‘s pages to come, but for now, I can tell you that this affirmed to me not to just throw these salads away for what I recognize didn’t work about them.

Instead, seeing how exactly they would fit into a greater web down the line, enter each of their key flavors that work so well together. With just the right touches of bitter caraway, tart cranberries, sweet peaches, and jarred-tomato-lemongrass-dill dressing together indeed, you have a true winner for whom this sings: deliciously fatty braised pork. Thanks, *linked* salads of mine.

*** AS, ENTER MY SUPER IMPORTANT HEALTH NOTE: where it comes to searing good ‘ole fashioned pork chops before braising them in what is technically a barbecue kind of sauce, common practices will tell you to ‘keep the seasoning in the pan instead of wiping it away each time: it enhances the flavor.’ You do not need to do this for additional flavor— just use some of the fresh spice rub and the braising liquid for flavor itself instead.

Otherwise, you’re keeping what is unfortunately straight-up burnt food on your plate, i.e. literal carcinogens that are poisonous to you.

This is why I THOROUGHLY recommend deglazing your searing pan/skillet each time with water, should you see seasonings in the pan become blackened. Just keep a little bit of water in a pitcher or tea kettle nearby and pour it slowly near the edge away from you. (You’re not splashing water into a vat of hot oil here, i.e. another dangerous cooking no-no, so it’s okay if it gets a little steamy!)

Then, once you’re done searing your meat and you’ve removed it, take some paper towels and QUICKLY wipe your pan down with a long cooking utensil. (Not your hands, so you don’t burn them.) Discard the paper towels and deglazing liquid each time before re-oiling your pan.

See all that icky-burnt stuff? You don’t want to eat that! Your body CERTAINLY doesn’t want to eat that! That’s my super important health note over. Now go enjoy your non-carcinogenic, healthy, tasty meal.


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