“My formula for everyday cooking: keep it simple yet satisfying, the quicker and easier the better, use real food ingredients, and include at least one vegetable.”
― Alyce Alexandra
I hope that the new year has you feeling refreshed and inspired. This time of year it is easy to feel a little run down with cabin fever so I try to get outside daily. My husband bought me new snowshoes for Christmas and I tried to spend as much time possible this winter trekking around our homestead in the crisp, fresh, invigorating air. Snowshoeing is great exercise and stress relief. I also enjoy the fact that because it gets my heart pumping, I am able to wear light layers instead of bulky outerwear – which allows for movement. Nothing beats a hot sauna after a night time snowshoe session. It is one of the pleasures that makes our long, cold, and dark winters joyful. While it may be spring in many corners of the world, it is still winter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While the sap started running last weekend in our stand of maples, the weather forecast for the next couple of days includes up to 9 inches of snow and freezing rain.
As you know from my previous recipe columns, our family raises our own chicken and pork. To keep our immune systems strong, I try as much as possible to cook homemade meals with fresh, whole ingredients – much that we raise ourselves. Therefore, I am always on the search for new flavor profiles and cooking methods so we have variety in our meal rotation. Pork chops are a favorite in our house and they turn out fantastic when grilled. However, in the cooler months we turn to cooking inside and I was looking for a recipe that went beyond putting them in the pressure cooker with cream soup, mushrooms, potatoes, and carrots. A recipe from a meal kit I purchased inspired this recipe. It was a chicken dish that incorporated a sauce made out of apricot preserves and was a huge hit with all of us.
Apricot & Garlic Glazed Pork Chops
*Pork chops (I used 6)
*½ cup chopped onion
*5 Tablespoons of minced garlic
*5 Tablespoons of apricot preserves/jelly
*4 Tablespoons of brown sugar
*1 Tablespoon of chili sauce (you can find it in the asian food section)
*1 stick of butter (to lighten up the recipe you can reduce the butter and use a little bit of chicken stock)
*Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Season both sides of the pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Add a couple of Tablespoons of butter to a large cast iron pan (Since I was making 6 chops, I had to use two pans) and heat until butter starts to brown. Add the pork chops and sear each side for 4 minutes. Take the chops out and place in a pan or dish.
Do not wash out the pan. Add the butter, onion, garlic and cook until soft. Whisk in the apricot preserves, chili sauce, and brown sugar. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the pork chops to the pan and turn so they are coated in the sauce. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes (check to make sure they are done.
This recipe would also be great with chicken breast. I made a side of roasted asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and carrots with rustic mashed Yukon gold potatoes. Searing the meat first makes the chops moist and the sauce is incredible. It was a wonderful feast for a cold winter night. However, it could easily translate to summer dinners as well. Imagine starting the cooking process on the grill and finishing with the glaze. Add a scoop of pineapple sorbet and a slice of watermelon and you have a perfect meal.
I hope you enjoy these pork chops as much as we did. If you are looking for more wholesome and home cooked meal ideas, make sure you check out the other recipes located in teh tabs at the top of the page. Find my Facebook page and let me know what recipes you have tried.
As our days become lighter and we reach for spring, make sure you are getting outside to enjoy the beautiful bounty of nature. Now is the time to start planning for a garden – whether you till a large space or have a few containers on your porch or deck. Stay safe. Wash your hands, drink lots of water, and eat your vegetables.