Whip Smart Kitchen

Recipes, methods & musings for the whip-smart home cook

Date Night Peach-Glazed Pork Chops

Dinner, RecipeLeannda CavalierComment

Cowboy cut pork chops seared to perfection in a sweet peach sauce with just enough spice to keep things interesting. A showstopper for date nights in, or you can slice the chops to feed up to four.

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Tonight's date night and I'm hungry—jump to the recipe!

What's better than a night out on the town? How about one where no one has to find parking, everyone gets a big juicy pork chop with a sweet, peachy glaze, and no one has to drive home after eating said deliciousness?

Sounds pretty good to me!

I really can't say enough about what a magical combo peaches and pork are, as you may know if you've been around long enough to have read my Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Tomato Peach Sauce post (no worries if you haven't been, but I would do that next!). 

It's just the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and if you add ginger? JACKPOT. With this particular cut of meat, you have the added benefit of texture. A crisp crust of rib pork chops with braised peaches? Holy yes, please do this. All of this. 

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Date Night Peach-Glazed Pork Chops take about 35 minutes to make, and barring any major fiascos, I really mean that. It's important to point out any recipe can take beginners a little longer, but there's honestly not a lot of prep here besides gathering ingredients and cutting the peaches, so we'll solve for that right now:

  • How to slice peaches: Cut the peach in half around the pit along the "butt", twist the halves and pull apart, spoon out the pit, slice each side in half lengthwise and then slice those halves in half.
  • How to chop fresh sage: Remove the stems, stack them on top of each other, roll them together lengthwise, slice the roll lengthwise, then slice it horizontally like you're slicing a carrot thinly until you have tiny pieces. 
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Let's go back to that crust real quick. To form a good crust on meat, you need dry meat and a nice hot pan. I mean, REALLY hot. That's why I'm asking you to pat the meat dry (just blot it with paper towels) and heat up the pan before you ever put it on the stove. You need that maillard reaction at work to get that caramel-y brown top with the crispity-crunch. 

Pro-tip: once you take it out of the oven, leave an oven mitt on the handle so you don't forget it's HOT. If not you'll end up like yours truly, whose knuckle currently looks like a cat butt thanks to pregnancy brain.

Yes, you read that right. Gail from Bob's Burgers would totally put it in her art exhibit. 

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So, what exactly are cowboy cut pork chops? 

If you've never heard of or cowboy cut pork chops before, you're not alone, I'm sure. They're just thick bone-in chops from the rib portion of the loin, with the rib bone frenched (a.k.a. that little bare handlebar you see poking out). They're basically the pork equivalent of a ribeye steak, and they're typically about an inch thick and well-marbled—they also have less connective tissue than many of the chops you see packaged at the grocery store, so they're nice and tender if you cook them right. 

Living in a small town, I don't see the cowboy cut around often—though because that town is in the South, they do pop up here and there. If you can't find them in your butcher's case, you can usually ask the butcher to cut some up for you, but make sure you give them time! They might not have a fresh rib rack in the back at all times. Ask about them at least a couple of days before you need them. 

My great-great grandfather Josef Juričić was from Croatia, where "butcher" translates to "mesar" in Croatian. When he crossed from Fiume (now Rijeka) to the United States, the immigration officials at Ellis Island asked him who he was, which he took to mean what he was. He replied he was a mesar, and ever since that mistaken scribble, my maternal line has had the surname "Messar".

P.S. my Pop-Pop, George Messar, goes by "Butch", so he's basically Butch Butcher. 

All this to say between family legacy, the idea that custom and local is better than mass-produced and my attempt to treat animals with respect despite eating meat, I appreciate a good butcher. I think they're way under-appreciated in much of the grocery industry. 

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Seriously, treat your butcher well and most will go out of their way to answer your questions and get you the cuts you want. A good one is a great resource, plus they might be able to make your shopping experience WAY less frustrating, for instance, if you typically put significant milage on your car just because you live in a small town and love lamb.

I have this theory that if we rely on and appreciate butchers a little more, grocery stores will see that and invest in helping them run departments with better quality meats, better training and more flexibility.

Let's try it, shall we?

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Like last week's Cheesy Fusilli with Tomatoes and Sausage, this is a meal I started making in college that has evolved greatly over the years. Almost 9 years to be precise (WHAT?!). I used to make this with itty-bitty pork chop cuts and frozen peaches (still do sometimes) and I would portion it out into containers with some greens for dinners on the go. 

I started out making it just on the stove, adding in the peaches and liquids after the second side was mostly done, then adding brown rice directly to the pan. The technique I use now is definitely more of a showstopper, but not gonna lie, the original was pretty good for a budget college meal!

 Baby, baby. GLAZE IT REAL GOOD. 

Baby, baby. GLAZE IT REAL GOOD. 

Speaking of technique, you may have noticed earlier I said the peaches are braised. They are (sort of), since they're seared and then finished in liquid, but the meat is not. In my previous method the pork chops were (kinda) braised, which is why despite being tasty, they never had the crust we're seeking here.

Taking the meat out before making the peach sauce and then glazing the meat after a good rest is how we get around that whole mess. Plus it makes sure the meat doesn't get overcooked and dry while the sauce thickens—which takes longer when all that juice is leaking out of the pork chops and into the pan, for the record.

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Yup, it's also how you make sure the inside is as beautiful as the outside. Tell me you don't want a piece of that. 

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So what's your favorite date night meal? Do you like a 30-minute stunna, or an all-day sleeper hit like a roast? Let me know in the comments!

If you try out this recipe, let me know by sharing a photo with the hashtag #whipsmartkitchen and tagging me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can also use the "tried it" feature on Pinterest to help other pinners find their next date night recipe!

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Let's get sizzling!

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