Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blueberry BBQ Pork Chops

Tell me friends, does it sound any more "summer" than this? I've had the recipe source for a few months and have held onto this for a nice summer night. My mom got to come over to enjoy this one with me and it was so fun to cook with Mama Ann. It also comes at a great time because many of my friends are participating in Blondes vs. Brunettes, a fundraiser to benefit the Alzheimer's Association, so this is also in honor of them. How does this relate one may ask? Well studies have shown that blueberries can help to improve brain function, so it can be a good preventative food to help combat Alzheimer's disease and dimentia.

This dish has everything going for it - it looks good and tastes great! Looking at it, I didn't think that blueberries and BBQ sauce would compliment each other, but the unique flavor of the sauce provided a little sweetness with a kick of heat.

Nutritional Facts: 352 calories, 15g total fat, 51mg chol, 36g carbs, 21g protein, 26mg calcium per serving (serving size is equivalent to one pork chop with 1/4 cup sauce)

Grocery List:
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 poblano pepper, seeded and minced (or jalapeno but I used poblano instead)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (directions said packed, but I left it loose)
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2-4 bone in pork chops (4-6 oz. each)
This is one that you will want to use some kind of grilling devise for, so I turned on my Egrill and brushed my grates with oil.

Start by sauteing the shallots and the poblano pepper in oil in a saucepan over medium heat until soft - about 2 minutes.

Add blueberries, vinegar, brown sugar, Dijon, garlic powder, and salt; simmer until the sauce thickens - about 3 minutes.

The directions instructed me to puree the mixture but my food processor was in the dishwasher and I didn't feel like make a mess with the blender so I decided not to, but if you are able to, try that out! If you puree, move back into the pan, if you don't, keep it on low heat and either way, now is when you stir in the lemon juice. Because I didn't puree, I used my wooden spatula to help crush the berries. Let simmer for about 2 minutes more, then remove from heat and set aside.

I haven't ever been the biggest fan of the pork chop: it can be a little too tough for my liking but I really enjoyed this. I asked the butcher the difference between the bone in and the filleted and he recommended I go with the bone in for more natural flavor, so I did. Grill the pork chop covered for about 6 minutes per side, until a thermometer reads 155 degrees. While grilling, brush some of the sauce over the chops the final few minutes on each side.

While the pork was grilling, I threw an ear of corn on with the grill (as you can see above) and tossed a simple spinach/arugula salad adding grilled corn and fresh blueberries to serve with the pork. I added 1 tbsp. champagne vinegar, about 1 tbsp of the rest of that fresh lemon used for the BBQ sauce, 1 tbsp. of olive oil, mixed it all up for a simple vinaigrette. Serve it together for a summer time delicious dish!

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