Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Although I live in North Carolina, I still have the blizzard mentality when it comes to my pantry and freezer. That’s when you think, “just in case we have a blizzard, I better have enough food on hand.” Even living five years in Sacramento, where the only snow that falls is on the TV news report from the Sierra Nevada, didn’t cure me of this. It didn’t help that my Sacramento kitchen was straight out of the 1950’s with lots of cabinet space to fill.

My smaller apartment kitchen here in North Carolina limited my purchases but not completely. While packing to move into my boyfriend’s house I discovered two and a half packages of cranberries in my freezer. Who wouldn’t want cranberries year round, right? I’ll leave my disclosures about cans of pumpkin for another time.

In an effort to use up these cranberries before they appear again in the produce section, I followed this quick recipe for last night’s dinner. The aromas of cranberry and thyme reminded me of Thanksgiving.

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Thyme Pan Sauce

2 servings – doubles easily

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water, orange juice, or a mixture
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 package cranberries (frozen okay)

Combine sugar and water/juice in saucepan. Bring to boil, so that sugar dissolves. Add optional orange zest and cranberries. Simmer until berries have popped, about 10 minutes. Pour into bowl and let cool. It’ll firm up as it cools.

  • 1 tablespoon butter (cut with some olive oil)
  • Two 5 to 6 ounce boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chopped fennel
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1/3 cup cranberry sauce (canned or use recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Melt butter with oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Saute pork until brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer pork to plate.

Add more oil/butter to pan if needed. Sauté onion and fennel until softened. Add garlic and cook one minute. Add wine to pan. Bring to simmer while scraping up browned bits in bottom of pan. Stir in cranberry sauce and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly reduced, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Season to taste.

Return pork and any juices to pan. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Plate pork and spoon sauce over it.

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Thyme Pan Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

Pork Chops with Cranberry-Thyme Pan Sauce | Grabbing the Gusto

Original recipe – Epicurious, Bon Appetit, November 2001

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