Apricot Glazed Pork Chops

Makes 4 servings

3 or 4 pork chops
1/4 cup apricot jam
1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, sliced
6 basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup pea shoots, coarsely chopped
sesame seeds

  • If you plan to serve the dish over rice, begin cooking the rice first.
  • In a medium sized bowl, stir the apricot jam, vinegar, paprika, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle to high heat. Rub a small amount of sesame oil on the pork chops and cook them for three minutes. Reduce heat to medium and flip the pork chop, cooking them an additional 2 minutes or until cooked through.
  • While the pork chops are cooking, it is a perfect time to give a quick sear to some side vegetables.
  • When pork chops are finished, serve them over a bed of rice, with vegetables on the side. Drizzle the apricot glaze over the top and garnish with plenty of green onion, basil, and sprouts. Finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Apricots are my favorite fruit, hands down. Aside from being delicious, they have a sentimental edge over other fruit. Growing up, we had a huge apricot tree in our back yard. I remember climbing in its branches to harvest as much as I possibly could. More fruit probably found its way into my stomach than into the basket, and still there would be a sticky mess of overripe apricots littering the ground below. My grandparents also grew apricots, and we always had a freezer full of bags of his homemade dried apricots. I never realized at the time how fortunate I truly was.

As an adult, I lament the loss of the apricot tree and the days of pitting apricots and laying them out on drying trays at my grandparents’ house. Maybe that is why this recipe from my childhood holds a special place in my recipe book. My parents used to grill pork chops and coat them with a liberal dose of tangy apricot glaze. The flavors were superbly balanced, and so the only change I have made is to add a touch of paprika (there’s never too much spice in my opinion).

Katja and I like to whip up a quick batch of apricot glaze, and then pour it over pork chops on a bed of white rice. Add in your favorite roasted veggies (charred Brussels sprouts for us) and you have a fine meal. What’s more, this is one of the few recipes I bring to our relationship that actually looks like fine dining. The colors and textures mesh just as well as the flavors do, making for a simple, yet elegant, dining experience.

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