Pork, Peaches & Tarragon Cherries - August in a Skillet

pork chops and peaches display


“Really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree” - bust out the cobbler recipes and fire up your grill because it’s National Peach Month!  As if August didn’t offer enough with sun-ripened blueberries, cherries and tomatoes – peaches galore are available at your local farmer’s market.

Juice running down your chin, sweet, tender goodness! If you ever have had a peach in August you surely know just how incredible they are.

Peaches make tasty desserts, but they also add something very special to savoury dishes and they’re the star of the show in this super seasonal pork recipe.

The succulent fattiness of pork is naturally brightened by fruit pairings. Red wine and balsamic vinegar, will add a bit of tart acidity to balance the sweetness of the grilled peach and cherry sauce.

To keep the peaches at their very best, we grill them with maple syrup and butter and then plate them at the last minute with the pork and cherry, tarragon sauce. The flavor combination is truly sublime.

So, what better way to celebrate National Peach month than to spark up your cast iron skillet to make some pork, peaches & tarragon cherries today?

Grilled Peaches 

pork and peaches recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

  • 4 peaches halved
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Combine the melted butter and maple syrup in a small ramekin. Then lightly baste the fresh cut side of the peaches with the maple syrup and butter mixture.
Heat a cast iron griddle, brushed with butter, to medium low. This will keep the peaches from sticking. You want it to be hot enough for grill marks but not so hot that the maple syrup smokes. This can be a little tricky so don’t leave this process unattended.
Lightly press the peaches into the griddle and cook for about 4-5 minutes. You can do both sides if you like. It really depends on your personal taste.
Before serving, use a pastry brush to coat the peaches with additional melted butter and maple syrup, which will give them some moisture and add a glossy finish.

Pan Seared Pork Chops 

pork chops and peaches sizzling

Brining: Overnight

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 bone in pork chops 
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of salt
  • Pepper or Cayenne to taste

There’s nothing worse than dry pork - it’s one of the drawbacks of this lovely meat. To resolve this issue we “dry brine” it before pan searing or grilling.

This process breaks down some of the muscle protein, which is then reabsorbed into the meat.  If you want to read more about this you can check out the Food Lab’s Guide to Pork Chops.

Dry brining is quick and easy and with a little planning you can have tender, juicy chops each and every time.

Just rub the salt, and any other seasoning you fancy, into 4 pork chops. Be sure to coat both sides well. Let the meat rest overnight in the fridge uncovered on a rack.

About 30 minutes before searing take the chops out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. The meat is well seasoned and should be cooked “as is”. No additional salt will be needed.

pork chops and peaches pan display

Heat an oiled cast iron skillet to medium high. Remember the oil should "shimmer" when you look at it and if it smokes, it’s too hot.

Place the pork chops on the skillet and fry on one side untouched for 5 minutes. This will give you the crisp golden crust you are looking for when you see a great piece of meat.

Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. USDA recommends an internal temperature of 145 – but I personally like mine a bit rarer at 135.

Don’t forget to let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tarragon Cherry Sauce 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons of fat (pork drippings from the chops render far more flavor – but this means your pork will have to rest for longer)
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • 1 cup of fresh cherries pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup wine to deglaze pan
  • 1/4 cup to add to the sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of tarragon chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt to taste

Flavor Tip: After you pan sear the pork chops you will be left with some wonderful excess fat. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the drippings from the frying pan to be used with other dishes. Nothing beats rendered fat for flavour.

Finely chop garlic and fry in drippings until light golden brown and then quickly add cherries and tarragon to the hot fat.

Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of red wine, scraping down the sides and bottom of the skillet to make sure you get all the crispy brown bits, that's where the flavour comes from.

A specific amount of salt is not recorded because the pan drippings are already salty. Be sure to taste the sauce at the end to see if additional salt is needed, but I would not add anything until you finished the process.

Add the rest of the red wine, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Cook over medium high heat until the sauce has reduced roughly by half. This should take about 10 minutes. You want the sauce to be slightly thickened (like a syrup).

Spoon over pork chops and serve immediately with grilled peaches.

Pork Chops Plate Square


... and now it is time to sit down and crack open a bottle of soft, fruity Zinfandel, it will punctuate the sweet, salty, earthy acidity of this seasonal dish well.

Cheers to National Peach Month!

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