Reflections Under The Sun: Double-Cut Pork Chops with Apple Cinnamon au Jus

IMG_0784From the Junior League of Phoenix Reflections Under the Sun cookbook, I chose the recipe from Eddie Matney (of Eddie’s House), Double-Cut Pork Chops with Apple Cinnamon au Jus (page 101). This recipe was a little time consuming and I would recommend on a day that you don’t have work or may have a bit more time to spend in the kitchen. The marinade for the pork chops could be easily done in the morning but the potatoes take at least an hour to cook. Everything has to be done simultaneously so make sure you read through the entire recipe prior to starting so you have a good idea on timing.

The main ingredient, frenched pork chops was a challenge to find but I took a chance and asked the butcher at my local Safeway and he was able to cut some for me in enough time for me to finish up the rest of grocery shopping. The recipe calls for 4 pork chops but I made it with 3 due to my family size.

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At least 6 hours before prep time, prepare the marinade and combine with the pork chops in a large plastic, sealable bag. The marinade consists of a 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 teaspoon dark rum and an 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes. I thought I had rum, but was wrong so had to improvise. I used Jim Beam and sugar and did not think I could tell a difference.

About an hour before prep time, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry 3 sweet potatoes and place directly on the oven rack. Cook for about an hour depending on size. Keep oven on at 400 degrees for the last step in cooking the pork chops.

After potatoes are about 15 minutes from being done, heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Also heat a sauce pan over high heat.

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Remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat dry, do not rinse. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Brown the pork shops in the skillet, about 5 minutes on each side depending on thickness.

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While the pork chops are cooking, combine 2 cups unfiltered apple cider, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 minced shallot, 1 tablespoon honey, 2 tablespoons brandy, 1 teaspoon minced habanero, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider in the saucepan, stirring occasionally. After the sauce has reduced by about a quarter (about 10 minutes), combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon unfiltered apple cider and stir into the simmering sauce mixture. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened.

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While the sauce is cooking, transfer the pork chops from the skillet into a baking dish. I sprayed the baking dish with some cooking spray first to avoid sticking. Cook in the 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

While the pork chops and sauce are cooking, combine the potatoes with skin on and 1/2 cup of butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons heavy cream and an 1/8 teaspoon ginger, and mash. I used a hand mixer which made it super quick and easy, just don’t over do it!

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Plate the potatoes with the pork chop on top followed by a ladle of the sauce and enjoy! My husband and I really enjoyed this dish, especially the pork chops. They were juicy and cooked perfectly. My husband is from the South and takes his “comfort food” seriously so definitely a win!

By, Tammy Griffin

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Pomegranates and Prickly Pears Recipe – Southwest Brownies

Cookbook PicI’m not exactly known for my great baking/cooking skills but wanted to give it try. I asked my boyfriend to select something from our Pomegranates & Prickly Pears cookbook to make. Naturally he went for dessert and chose the Southwest Brownies. I didn’t have the first three key ingredients (ancho chile powder, Saigon cinnamon & chipotle chile power) so off we went to the Supermarket (FYI: There are no alternatives for those spices). After visiting three (yes 3!!!) grocery stores, we found everything at our local Safeway (Greenway & Tatum Blvd). Overall, this recipe was fairly easy minus the fact that we drove a few places looking for spices.

Southwest Brownies

Ingredients

Brownies:
½ cup four
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons margarine
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Chocolate Frosting:
4 ½ tablespoons baking cocoa
3 tablespoons margarine
1 cup (or more) confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mixing Pic

Instructions
For the brownies, preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix the flour, ancho chile powder, Saigon cinnamon, chipotle chile powder and salt together.  Heat the margarine and baking cocoa in a saucepan over low heat until blended, stirring frequently.  Remove Brownie Picfrom the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla and eggs.  Add the flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Spoon the batter into a greased 8×8-inch baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For the frosting, heat the baking cocoa and margarine in a saucepan over low heat until blended, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth, adding additional confectioners’ sugar (I doubled what was required) if needed for the desired consistency.  Spread the frosting over the top of the brownies.  Let stand until set and cut into bars.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

By, Kate Ruesch

Pomegranates and Prickly Pears: Cobb Salad

Cobb Salad makes for the perfect lunch/dinner in this Arizona heat! Light and refreshing, but still substantial enough as a meal. I made this for dinner earlier this week, using the recipe in Pomegranates and Prickly Pears: Flavorful Entertaining from the Junior League of PhoenixCobb Salad, and have been craving it since. And if you are ever without your trusty JLP cookbook, there is an easy acronym to never forget the components:
Eggs
Avocado
Tomatoes

Chicken
Onion
Bacon
Blue Cheese

Recipe:
Classic Cobb Salad

Dijon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Salad

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large head romaine, torn
1 bunch watercress, stemmed
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into half
3 eggs, hard-cooked and coarsely chopped
2 avocados, coarsely chopped
8 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup (2 ounces) blue cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

For the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, sugar, and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid and seal tightly. Shake to mix. You may prepare up to 1 day in advance and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

For the salad, arrange the oven rack 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and arrange on a broiler pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Boil for 4 to 8 minutes or until light brown and turn. Broil for 6 to 8 minutes longer or until cooked through. Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.

To serve, toss the romaine, watercress, and 5 tablespoons on vinaigrette in a bowl until coated and arrange on a large serving platter. Toss the chicken with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in the same bowl and arrange along 1 edge of the platter. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette in the same bowl and arrange along the opposite edge of the platter. Place the chopped eggs and avocado in separate rows near the center of the platter and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with bacon, cheese, and chives and serve immediately.

Kitchen TipNote: I cheated a little bit on this recipe. To save time, I bought pre-cooked chicken breast from the deli. I also omitted the watercress.

Tip: To easily halve your grape tomatoes, sandwich them between two flat surfaces. (I used a Tupperware container and cutting board here), and simply slice across the middle using a sharp knife. Major time saver!

by, Danielle Fertig