Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Apricots and Pork...Who Knew?

Living as I do with a 'meat and potatoes' kinda guy, I have a lot of standard recipes that I know he likes. Most of these have been posted over time on this blog and they can be found in the Index (see the Sidebar).

In general Sweetie is not fond of meat dishes that use sweet ingredients but today he was the one who suggested baking pork chops along with apricot ale. Now apricot ale isn't really sweet, but there are fruity overtones of apricot and it's faintly sweeter than some ale. The one we like is brewed by Pyramid.

Once Sweetie suggested the apricot ale I jumped in with a spur of the moment collection of other ingredients: brown rice, mushrooms, onions, parsley, sage, even nutmeg...and dried apricots of course.

This is a savory dish with little bursts of sweet from the dried apricots. It's very easy to do and made enough for two dinners for two or plenty for four at one meal. I served it with a nice green salad for some crunch since the pork dish is savory but soft. Who knew that pork and apricot together would yield such a nice dinner? Now we have a meal already cooked for Friday.

A little update on health: My knee is doing much better (and THANK YOU to all for the good wishes) but the doc said yesterday to expect another couple of weeks before walking downstairs would be comfortable. I was actually talking to the doc because I had to drive Sweetie in to be checked out for a fall from a wooden ladder. He is fine (although pretty sore) but the ladder isn't. I'd rather have it that way than the other way around. It is sort of comical. He can walk fine but it hurts of do much bending over and I can bend over fine but it hurts to walk much so both together equals about one healthy person. Good thing we have each other!

Pork and Apricot Bake

4 thick cut pork chops
garlic salt or salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground sage
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground (if possible) nutmeg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup water
4 cups already cooked brown rice
1 bottle (12 oz) apricot ale
1/2 cup dried apricots (halves or chopped)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook in an oven safe skillet with a lid or transfer ingredients to a large casserole with a lid when it's time to bake.

Season the pork chops with the salt or garlic salt, pepper, sage and nutmeg. Season both sides if that is important to you. I generally go with seasonings on one side, so you may need to increase the sage and nutmeg amounts if you season both sides.

In large skillet, over high heat, heat the olive oil and brown the seasoned chops. Turn and brown the other side, then remove from the pan and keep warm. Add the chopped onion to the pan and stir continuously for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and stir every 10 seconds for 2 minutes.

Turn down the heat to low and add the water. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and stir the mixture. Add the rice and stir to combine completely. If using the same skillet, smooth out the rice mixture. If using a different ovenproof baker, transfer the rice mixture to that baker and smooth it out.

Place the browned pork chops evenly around the baking dish. Scatter the apricots over the rice around the pork chops. Pour on all of the ale. Sprinkle Italian parsley over all. Cover and bake covered for 1 hour. Remove cover and bake another 5 minutes. Serve hot.


  1. Aaargh, you two!! For some reason, the same thing is going on with my Dad; lots of running around and trying to do house stuff, and crashing around and sliding off of ladders...!

    Be well, be well, be well.

    Man, I so hope we get to cook/eat together someday. This sounds SO good. You really know how to do casserole-y things.

  2. I also live with a carnivore, so I can totally identify. I love this combination. That's making lemonade from lemons.