They say opposites attract, and I'm inclined to believe it's true. My husband grew up on a 5-acre farm; I grew up on a (roughly speaking) .05-acre city plot. His family raised beef cattle, chickens, and turkeys; mine raised dogs and cats (indoor only). He loves his country music; I love it when he turns off his country music. And most significantly for this post, he grew up eating pork; I did not.
No, we were a chicken-and-beef sort of family. Thanks to my mom, I can cook chicken eight ways to Sunday. (What does that mean?) Or give me a pound of ground beef, and I'll sling it into a delectable melange of flavors and colors the likes of which you have never seen (because I just made it up). Chicken! and Beef! How much more versatile can you get?
But pork...pork is...hmmmm. I grew up believing that pork is the other white meat. And I mean other in a pejorative sense, as in: "That pork is from the other side of the tracks." No good. Risky. Definitely Not To Be Associated With. You know the type.
My dear pork-eating husband revealed to me some time ago that his favorite animal to eat (doesn't that sound lovely?) is pig: "Think about it," he said. "Ham. Bacon. Sausage. Pork chops. Pork roast. I love all of those things!" Inwardly, I cringed. I like ham, bacon, and sausage as much as the next girl, but I don't want to cook pork chops or roasts, I thought. Pork is evil, isn't it? Bland? Dry?
But I love him, and I want him to be happy. (He also likes mushrooms, and I won't cook them for him anymore, but that's a story for another post.) So I buy pork and cook it. I know it's all psychological, but I don't love the flavor of it, so my favorite pork to cook is pork smothered in sauce or covered in spices, and he doesn't seem to mind that. Heck, a few weeks ago I even overcooked some pork chops, and my, my, were they dry. But I covered them in a tasty sauce, and my hubby ate them all with gusto and delight, none the wiser.
At any rate, every time I prepare pork chops or pork medallions, as I plan to do tonight, I search allrecipes.com or myrecipes.com for a "glazed pork chop" recipe that looks appetizing to me. Inevitably, I wade through many in search of something that doesn't have "balsamic" in the title, and wouldn't you know it? I've selected this recipe on more than one occasion. So it must be good.
Apricot-Glazed Pork Chops
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick) (or you can use a pork tenderloin cut into 1/2-in.-thick medallions)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1/3 cup Riesling or other slightly sweet white wine
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan, and keep warm. Season with salt and pepper.
Warm preserves in microwave (approx. 20 seconds on high) to thin. Combine preserves, wine, and ginger in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add preserves mixture to pan; simmer 4 minutes or until mixture thickens. Return pork to pan; cook 1 minute, turning to coat.
adapted from Cooking Light, APRIL 2005