Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pork chops with jalapeño peach barbecue sauce

jalapeño

There have been lots of stories about homesick Texans in New York throughout the years, but some of my favorites are about Bud Shrake. He was a Texan writer who lived in New York in the 1960s when he worked at Sports Illustrated and a few years ago Texas Monthly published some of his letters to his friends and family back home.

He was a wild guy, so the letters are colorful and lively, filled with lots of anecdotes about both the writing life and the New York nightlife back then. He also had a voracious appetite and liked to write about food. Like so many homesick Texans in New York, he would lament the dearth of good Texan food and whenever he did find something that reminded him of home, he and his fellow Texans in New York would rejoice.

When discussing his beloved dishes from Texas, one he goes on about is pork chops. He loved pork chops. And it was his passion that reminded me I also love them and it had been too long since I’d had one. When I was young, we ate them fairly regularly at home but I realize I don’t make them nearly enough, and that’s a shame, as they’re not very expensive and yet when cooked well can be as succulent and satisfying as a steak.

jalapeño

There are several different ways to make pork chops but one of the quickest and easiest I’ve found is simply broiling them. You just season the chops, slide them under the broiler for a spell, flip them once, and in almost no time they’re done.

While a good, thick pork chop doesn’t need much more than a light dusting of salt and pepper, this time of year when people take to their backyards and fire up their grills, I like to spread some barbecue sauce onto my chops before broiling in order to introduce some of that smoky, sweet, outdoor flavor into my indoor dining experience. And since nothing says summer like peaches, one sauce I like to use in the warmer months is my jalapeño peach barbecue sauce.

To make the sauce is simple. I throw sliced unpeeled peaches, onion, garlic, and a jalapeño or two under the broiler for a few minutes until they are blackened and soft. (If you’re grilling, I supposed you could throw the vegetables on there instead.) I then mix these with ketchup, tomato sauce, molasses, and spices. Then I cook it for a while until the flavors are rich and deep. To finish, I stir in some smoked paprika to enhance that outdoor taste.

jalapeño

In my sauce, I keep the sugar down to a minimum, as I prefer the peach’s slightly sweet and sour flavor to shine through. Peaches are delicate, and while I will admit that their presence in this sauce is not overt, it is proudly there in the background, a gentle reminder of the sauce’s summertime origins.

Once the sauce is done, I slather it on the chops, slide them under the broiler and as they cook the fatty ends get crisp and juicy while the meat gets nicely seared and browned. Meanwhile, the tangy, slightly spicy sauce caramelizes on top of the meat, with occasional almost-burnt spots dotting the surface. The smell is heavenly and when I take a bite, if I close my eyes it almost feels like I’m sitting in a backyard under a tree back home.

jalapeño

While I share this jalapeño peach barbecue sauce here with pork chops, know that it’s is also terrific with ribs, chicken, and even brisket. And it goes without saying that if you are cooking outside on your grill, this sauce is just as tasty as if you are using it inside in your broiler or your skillet. But no matter how you use it, you will love this sauce as it's a taste of Texas that will remind you of warm, lazy days spent with your favorite people.

Now, before you go and gather your peaches and pork chops, I just wanted to share with you one thing. A couple of weeks ago I won a James Beard award for writing this blog. While I don’t like to brag about stuff like this, I was pleased that when I accepted my award I had the opportunity to shout, “Texas forever!” from the stage in front of hundreds of people. The opportunity over the years to celebrate Texas in all its glory on this blog has been a true blessing, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Writing about Texas and its food, its land, its culture, its history, and its people is a true joy. So thank you for reading and eating, and enjoy your summer!

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BOOK TOUR!
If you’d like to meet in person and talk about Texas, food, recipes, and making memories at the family table, I’m going to be doing some book signings next month and I’d love to see you! Here are the dates for June (I'll be heading to North Texas in the fall). For more details about each event, please check back with my book page. See you soon!

Austin, Book People, June 10, 7pm

San Antonio, Twig, June 11, 5 to 7pm

Alpine, Front Street Books, June 13, 6pm

Houston, Blue Willow, June 16, 7pm

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Jalapeño peach barbecue sauce with broiled pork chops

For the jalapeño peach barbecue sauce:
4 peaches, pitted and sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
1 to 2 jalapeños, cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup ketchup
8 ounces tomato sauce
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Pinch ground clove
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground ginger
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt
Black pepper

For the pork chops:
4 bone-in pork chops, about 3/4” thick
Salt
Pepper

To make the sauce, turn on the broiler, and place a rack 6 inches away from the heating element. Place in a large cast-iron skillet or on a foil-lined sheet the sliced peaches, skin side down, the onion, the garlic, and the jalapenos, skin side up. Place under the broiler, and cook for 5 minutes or until the peaches, garlic, onion, and jalapeños are softened and have begun to blacken. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin from the peaches (don’t worry if it doesn’t all come off) and place in a blender along with the onion, garlic, and jalapeño.

Add to the blender the ketchup and tomato sauce and blend until smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and stir in the molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, clove, nutmeg, and ginger. Cook the sauce on low heat, occasionally stirring, for 20 minutes. The sauce should be thick and darkened. (Warning—as it cooks the sauce will probably splatter.) Stir in the smoked paprika, then taste and adjust any seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, while the sauce is cooking, lightly salt and pepper each side of the pork chops and have them come to room temperature. Line a sheet pan with foil and top with a lightly greased rack. Place the pork chops on top of the rack. Spread on each chop about 1 to 2 tablespoons of jalapeño peach barbecue sauce on the side facing up. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes. (If you don’t have a rack, don’t worry. You can also use a cast-iron skillet to cook the chops, as I often do because my broiler is so small! Also, I’ve just left the broiler on the whole time from the first step, but if you prefer to turn it off and then on again that’s fine.)

Remove the chops from the broiler. With tongs, flip them over and again apply more jalapeño peach barbecue sauce to the other side of each chop. Place under the broiler and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the sauce is blackened in places and the chops are 140°F. Remove the chops from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

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29 comments:

Mike said...

Texas forever!

DessertForTwo said...

Congrats, Lisa! I'm a homesick Texan that's been following you for years. I recently met another homesick Texan here in St Louis and he knew all about your site. We have a date to cook some of your recipes and reminisce together :)

Congrats on the the books, the JBA and being awesome :)

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Mike--Yes!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

DessertForTwo--Thank you! Your get together with a fellow homesick Texan sounds like my kind of fun. Happy cooking!

Matt Robinson said...

Jalapeno Peach BBQ sauce? That sounds amazing, can't wait to try these!!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Matt--It is indeed amazing!

Liz said...

Jalapeno Peach BBQ sauce - I'm there...or at this time of the year maybe Jalapeno Rhubarb BBQ Sauce.

But, Lisa...as a long time reader and a reader so happy to have become familiar with your Texas cuisine...if your heart is in Texas, why aren't you???

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Liz--Believe it or not, I've never cooked with rhubarb. I had no idea it went well with jalapeños! As for my living situation, work keeps me in New York for now.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Lisa you so deserve it, I follow your blog almost daily and love it to pieces, our only child lives in NYC but she has friends in AUSTIN, TX, when she goes for SXSW she stays with them, she hates to return to NYC, thru the year she visits and hates to leave, she says the air and friends and food just are different in AUSTIN, TX! I am from where James Beard lived for a great deal of his life, OREGON, I don't live there now but in WASHINGTON state which has the best seafood I like to think of all of USA and seattle a real foodie town if one can afford it, we love to go to the beach with childhood friends and to eastern Washington to the many electic wineries and art fairs and foods too..Congratulations upon your award, your writing, recipes and love of all of TEXAS is fabulous, we have been to the Lone Star state and to us there is no other than TEXAS..ride on and keep those fabulous recipes and your blog coming along..ciaoX()

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Anon--Thank you! I have family in the Pacific Northwest and it's always a pleasure to visit.

Kimberly said...

You won a Jame Beard!? WOW! That's fantastic! Congratulations! As we Aggies are fond of saying, "That's some GOOD BULL right there!"

Debra Kapellakis said...

This looks and reads to be tasty. thank you, I was tickled today when a fellow member of Bill's Kitchen shared this blog post on that yahoo group of mine.

Barry said...

Congratulations on the James Beard award, Lisa! That is terrific! I am a longtime follower and fellow Homesick Texan up Seattle way. Like you describe NYC, there is really no way to get the flavors from home here unless you cook it yourself. And, although I love to cook, I'd kill for a Ninfa's, Sonny Bryan's, Good Eats, or even a Black Eyed Pea! I love the blog and your 1st cookbook and look forward to acquiring the 2nd. Cheers!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kimberly--Thank you!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Debra--They are very tasty. And I'm pleased to hear it was shared on your Yahoo group, too!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Barry--Thank you! New York, like Seattle, has some incredible food but you are so correct when you say that it's just hard to get Texas food unless you make it yourself.

thejameskitchen said...

Congratulations, well deserved. We certainly get inspired by your posts & recipes and quench our Californian & Mexican homesickness via Texas. Nicole

Ann (Rooney) Wassermann said...

again, congrats on the Beard award. As for the recipe, my only question is why you don't include brining in the recipe?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Ann--The meat cooks so fast that it stays juicy. Though if you want to brine your chops, feel free to do it!

Natalie @ Whole Plate Wellness said...

Texas forever indeed! I know my Midland-homesick boyfriend will love this for Memorial Day! And congrats on the James Beard award - what an accomplishment :)

senojjones said...

I'll do these chops sous vide for 4 hours then finish it off with the peach barbeque sauce. I use a Nomiku, which i love. Mindless, always perfect.

John said...

Congratulations on your Beard.

I live in the most SW corner of Oregon. Spent most of my life in Texas. I miss it, but I love this place. If I was more ambitious I'd start a Texas grill here. Fortunately, I am a cook.

I appreciate your recipes and I appreciate you. I'd like it if you lived down the road, you know?

LQ said...

Oh my goodness, you're appearing in Alpine?! My parents live there; I might just have to send them in my stead ;)

Shelley said...

Re Shrake: One of the worst things about the current loss of journalism is the loss of journalists. They were a sassy lot.

Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} said...

This barbecue sauce looks fantastic!

Devon said...

Is it ok, to say that I'm so jealous of your book tour and the food you eat while on it?

Hillary, former Austinite said...

id love to gift this sauce, how long do you think it will keep? Also,what's the approximate yield? THANKS, and congratulations!!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Hillary--It makes about a half-pint and it keeps for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Because it's low acid, you'd need to pressure can it for longterm storage--a process I'm not well versed enough to give advice about.

Pamela Heady said...

Just last week I was hunting for sauce recipes involving fruit and jalapeños to complement two pork tenderloins I was going to grill. I found your site and this recipe and WOW! I had to modify slightly due to not having all ingredients on hand, but the end result was just as delicious and received rave reviews from my dinner guests. I plan to blog about the sauce this week. Links and credit will be included of course for your website and recipe. Oh, and I'm a homesick Texan too living in California. ;)

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