Saturday night, we had a couple of nice sirloins. It was too stormy for grilling, so they got the cast-iron grill pan. A nice meal, with corn on the cob and baked potatoes for sides.*
The steaks were one-step-down from USDA Prime, which is great on the grill. On the grill pan, I cheated: I have a bag of fresh cherries in the fridge, a little more tart than the label promised. Still good for snacking, but tart enough that I halved and pitted several, and cooked them atop the steaks, the juice adding a little extra to the flavor and maybe even helping to tenderize.
Those steaks were really good, tender and flavorful.
So, with a couple of boneless pork chops for Sunday, I decided to give them a nice marinade with cherries: about a quarter-cup each of balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, with a tablespoon or two (or was it three?) of Worcestershire sauce, a couple of shakes of garlic powder, a teaspoon or so of my Japanese chili powder, and a half-dozen of those cherries, pitted, halved and mashed up a little.
The pork chops sat in that (in a big zip-lock plastic bag) overnight and all day today, getting turned about halfway through. As dinnertime approached, I lightly browned them in a little bacon fat, then poured the marinade over. After it had cooked for several minutes, it seemed kind of strong, but I didn't want to water it down.
Vegetables to the rescue! I chopped up a couple of small celery stalk, a couple of fat baby carrots, a large radish and half of a red bell pepper. I had two fresh mushrooms left, so they got chopped up and joined the pot. I figured I had done what I could, and if the result was still too strong, it wasn't going to bother the pork chops much.
I prepped for "popcorn" asparagus, quick-fried in a little olive oil with toasted sesame seeds (better in sesame oil but the shelf life is too short) and found a nice brown rice and quinoa mix to microwave. Had another look at the chops and -- oh, they smelled wonderful!
It was a long simmer to get them to 170°F, at which point the vegetables and cherries had cooked down nicely and there was plenty of liquid. I sneaked a taste and it was even better than I could have hoped! Served with the veggies over rice, and the broth over that and the meat, it was good enough that Tam went back for seconds of the veggies, rice and broth combo. The flavor was savory and spicy, with a hint of sweetness.
Popcorn asparagus is usually the standout of the meal. This time, it was eclipsed. Not bad for guessing, if I do say so myself.
* Even better with a salad, too, but....
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