Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cast Iron Diaries: Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce

Hello! And welcome to the first addition of the Cast Iron diaries.
I will be the first to admit it... cooking over a stove is NOT my expertise. In fact, I have no expertise in the kitchen, but I would like to think I typically have more success on the baked goods front.
Well, we registered for a cast iron skillet (and received one) for our wedding! Clay uses it to make omelets, etc., but I had yet to venture into this territory. I have always heard of others making cast iron corn bread, but I had NO idea how many recipes you could actually make in the cast iron. The recipes I found inspired me to do a series of things I plan to try to make, solely in the cast iron!
First up... Pork Chops with Pepper Jelly Sauce. I found this recipe on Southern Living.
You will need:
4 (3/4-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops (about 2 1/4 lb.)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup red pepper jelly  
To Prepare:
1. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops, and cook 8 minutes; turn and cook 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 150°. Remove from skillet, and keep warm.
2. Add flour and jalapeño to skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until flour is golden brown. Add wine, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet; cook 1 minute or until almost completely reduced.
3. Add chicken broth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in pepper jelly until melted and smooth. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp. butter. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Return pork to skillet; turn to coat. Serve pork with sauce.
Note: We tested with Braswell's Red Pepper Jelly.
So, here's the deal. I stopped at Wal Mart on my way home, and couldn't find ANY pepper jelly. Being that it was 10 degrees and I needed to get home to my dog baby, I did not feel like driving another 15 minutes to another grocery store. I figured I would make do, somehow.
So here is my adaptation: I followed the instructions according to above, but instead of pepper jelly, I used regular (homemade) strawberry jelly. I also randomly had a few tablespoons of a mango habanero salsa hanging out in my fridge, so I threw that in as well! I also want to add that I did not cook the pork chops as long as it said. They appeared to be  getting done quickly so I shortened the initial 8 and 10 minute cook times. You may want to adapt based on the thickness of your cut of meat.  
And... here were the results!
It was sweet and spicy and the pork chops were tender. When I make again, I will probably cook the pork chops even less. Overall, success! And Clay loved it, too! Win-win!
Does anyone have any must-try cast iron recipes? I am a newbie with the cast iron and up for anything!
Happy Wednesday!

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