Red Currant Glazed Pork Chops are a scrumptious, simple and elegant way to make the most of the short but delicious red currant season! This post was sponsored by Hurst’s Berry Farm, who sent me some fabulous fresh red currants to create a recipe with, and all opinions are my own.
You know how sometimes you make a meal, and you just know that you hit it out of the ballpark, that the meal could be served in a fancy restaurant? Yeah, these Red Currant Glazed Pork Chops did that for me. They were AH-mazing. And I feel the need to disclose, right from the very start, that as good as they were with a wild rice and mushroom pilaf, they were even more fantastic when I served the leftovers with smashed sour cream potatoes the next night. So keep that in mind for serving them even though I did not get any pictures of those.
When Kitchen Play and Hurst Berry Farm contacted me about a sponsored post involving fresh red currants, I immediately said yes. Working with fresh fruits and vegetables is something I will agree to every time. However, the truth in this case is that I had never eaten a fresh red currant so I also had no idea what to expect! When they arrived, we immediately ate some raw. They are quite tart–definitely not for everyone in their raw form, but I saw Alex steal one every time she walked through the room. So they are not too tart for some people! And like all tart fruits, add some sugar and they taste amazing.
After discussing it with my sister, I realized 2 things: many people do not enjoy the large seeds of the currants and also red currants can be a pain to remove from the stems in large quantities. Apparently the answer is to lightly cook the red currants, stems and all, until they look like the photo in the upper right corner of the collage above. At this point, they are pressed through a food mill or sieve. David Lebovitz’s post about making red currant jam was extremely helpful for this. Red currants have naturally high quantities of fruit pectin, the ingredient that makes jam or jelly stiff (for lack of a better word) when chilled. So red currant jelly is simply red currants pushed through a sieve and boiled with sugar. Easy peasy!
I have to pause here and give a shout out to my kids, especially Alex, for helping me mash the cooked red currants through our chinois. It also allowed me to take photos of the process!
I took David’s advice and used less sugar because I like my sweet fruit to have a tart edge. My 10 clamshells turned into about 1400 g of the sieved puree–to which I added 1200 g of sugar (apparently the traditional ratio is 1:1 of puree to sugar). After that had boiled for 5 minutes, I added 2 tablespoons of bourbon and let it boil for another 2 minutes. I loved the effect the bourbon had–it gives the jelly a warm, toasty undertone. And although these pork chops were the first thing I made, I have plenty of jelly and am planning some fun baked goods as well.
These Red Currant Glazed Pork Chops were out of this world. The kids and I debated whether to use straight red currant jelly or somehow fiddle with it. In the end, I decided to fiddle. I pan seared the chops in a heavy bottomed, oven safe pan (I used stainless steel although enameled cast iron would work as well if you have a large enough pan; I was making 3 pork chops as John was out of town–his loss!) on both sides, and then finished cooking them in the oven. When they came out of the oven, I removed the chops to a cutting board and added onions and garlic to the pan with a little water to deglaze the pan. Eventually I added the red currant jelly–and magic was made! Not that the plain red currant jelly is not super tasty, but with the salty and savory pork undertones, the jelly became something super special for glazing on meat. It breaks my heart that I am moving–because I would like to save it and drape it over a pork roast this fall!
- 60 oz fresh red currants, rinsed
- 1200 g sugar
- 2 T bourbon
- Place the currants, stems and all, in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. Place it over medium heat.
- Gently toss the berries as they burst and liquify. When they are mostly burst and a soupy mess, transfer them (in batches) to a food mill, sieve or chinois. Press the juice and softened flesh (if it will go) through, leaving behind the stems and seeds (and in my case a lot of flesh--the chinois has a very tight mesh).
- You should have about 1400 g of sieved red currents. If this is not the case for you, adjust the sugar accordingly--I was aiming to reduce the sugar by about 15% from a 1:1 ratio.
- Return the red currant liquid to the pot and add the sugar. Stir gently and bring to a boil.
- Let boil for 5 minutes.
- Skim the foam off of the top of the jelly and discard.
- Stir in the bourbon and let boil for another 2 minutes.
- IF you know how to can, by all means, can away! Otherwise let cool and then transfer to a sealed container in the fridge.
- 3 2-inch thick, center cut, bone-in pork chops, patted dry and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- 1-2 T vegetable oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, minced
- pinch of salt
- 2 T minced garlic
- 2 cups red currant jelly (see above)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Using a large, heavy bottomed skillet (I used a 14-inch stainless steel skillet), heat the oil over high heat. If your chops do not fit comfortably in your skillet, you will need to work in batches to prevent steaming or use a cooktop-safe roasting pan.
- Add the pork chops. Let them brown thoroughly before turning them--wait at least 6 minutes before checking. Flip the pork chops and let them continue to brown on high heat for 5 minutes.
- Then place the pan in the oven to finish cooking. Mine took about 10 minutes--you are looking for an internal temperature of about 155 F.
- When they are cooked, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the pork chops to a cutting board with a ditch to catch juices.
- Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add the onions with a pinch of salt.
- Splash a tablespoon or so of water into the pan. Scrape up all of the tasty browned pork bits. Continue cooking the onions until they are caramelized--adding water as needed to prevent scorching or burning. When the onions are caramelized golden brown, add the garlic. Continue cooking. This stage can take as little as 15 minutes, but it can also take longer if you are waiting on a side dish. Just continue stirring, and adding water as needed. You don't really want the onions to stand out in the jelly, so the more cooked they get, the better.
- When you are ready to serve, add the red current jelly into the pan. Use a whisk--preferably a flat bottomed one--to continue scraping up onion and pork bits, but also to completely merge the caramelized onion mix with the jelly. When they are completely whisked together, turn off the heat.
- Serve the pork chops draped in the red current sauce.
Looking for a fancy collage to pin? I got ya covered–just click on the link!