- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Turns out cranberries complement the other white meat, too. In this seasonal riff on the classic pairing of pork chops and apple sauce, cranberries are combined with sliced red onions, red wine and hot peppers to create a delicious and colorful pan sauce for topping boneless pork chops.

The preparation is simple. The chops are fried briefly on both sides with a bit of butter, then placed in a warm oven while you make the sauce. Toss the sauce ingredients in the pan, simmer, then serve.

Cranberries make a wonderful sauce because as they cook, they burst and reduce to a thick liquid. To balance the tartness of the berries (fresh or frozen work fine), a bit of honey and red wine are added.

This recipe also calls for diced Peppadews, a bright red and mildly spicy canned pepper from South Africa. If you would prefer, canned jalapeno slices could be used, but note that jalapenos are spicier, so you’ll need to adjust volume to taste.

If you don’t care for spicy foods, you can leave out the peppers or substitute roasted red peppers.

Pork chops with spicy cranberry sauce

Start to finish: 25 minutes

4 center cut, boneless pork chops

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup red wine

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

2 tablespoons minced Peppadew peppers (or 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers)

2 tablespoons honey

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Use paper towels to pat dry the pork chops. Season them on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chops and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the chops, cover the pan, then reduce heat to low and cook until the chops reach 145 degrees at the center, about another 7 to 8 minutes.

Transfer the chops to an oven-safe plate, cover with foil and place in the oven to keep warm.

Return the skillet to the stove over medium-high heat. Add the onion, wine, cranberries, peppers and honey. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cranberries pop and the liquid has reduced to create a thick sauce, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

To serve, drizzle each pork chop with some of the cranberry sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 406 calories; 162 calories from fat; 18 g fat (9 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 17 g carbohydrate; 36 g protein; 2 g fiber; 431 mg sodium.

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