I’ve wanted to experiment a bit more with cranberries since these tart little fruits are too good to relegate solely to Thanksgiving dinner, never to be seen again until next year. I’ve gotten a lot of suspicious reactions to all of my cranberry endeavors thus far (since its not traditional cranberry sauce), but the versatility of these berries continues to impress me. So today, I wanted to see how they’d fare with a bit of a stronger, South-western style kick to them by making a honey chipotle cranberry sauce to go with some pork chops.
The sauce itself was surprisingly potent: tart, dark, acidic, spicy (in both heat and flavor), sweet, and smoky. Simply put, the sauce was tasty, a fun change, and a very zesty use of cranberries. It kind of reminded me of a mojo-meets-spicy cranberry sauce, if that does anything for you. Now if you were to eat the sauce all alone though, it would be a little unbalanced, as you definitely need something rich for it to cut through (and to temper the acidity a bit). This is where a nice, juicy, just-the-right-amount-of-fat pork chop, pan fried in butter, comes in to save the day. It might be crisp, chilly, and sleepy outside right now, but this dish will warm you and wake you right up.
- 4 pork chops
- Spice rub
- 1-1.25 cup cranberries
- 3 chipotles in adobo
- 1 shallot
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 lime juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1-2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- dried oregano
Begin by getting the sauce cooking. Sauté the finely minced shallots for 5 minutes before adding the finely minced garlic and chipotles for another minute. Deglaze the pan with orange and lime juice.
Get the sauce boiling again and add the cranberries, honey, oregano, and season to taste. Leave this over medium heat.
While you wait on the sauce, prepare the pork chops however suits your fancy. I chose to rub them with a mix of spices before pan frying them in butter and olive oil until cooked through (figure 10-15 minutes).
Smoosh the sauce up a bit as the berries should have popped and softened. Add in the chopped cilantro leaves, stir well, and kill the heat.
Once the chops are done cooking, plate the pork, top with a bit of sauce, and serve with a mellow, even creamy side. I served with a mix of sautéed butternut squash and pinto beans. Enjoy!