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  Pork Loin Chops Stuffed with Dried Fruits Served over an Orange-Scented Sweet Potato Puree with a Balsamic Gastrique

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With a pantry that seems to gather bits of dried fruits, this recipe was developed to utilize those bits  - but this dish would also be good without them. You could also substitute chicken breasts for this dish.

The frozen orange juice in the sweet potato puree is an excellent example of adding concentrated penny-pinching flavor to a sauce.


Now, doesn’t that sound fancy. If you ever turn into any of the chef cooking competitions on television, you’ll hear about gastriques left and right – and they’re really easy and inexpensive.

Using equal parts of vinegar and sugar, a gastrique is a thin sauce that, when used properly, not only enhances the flavors of a dish but also adds visual appeal and an aromatic touch. 

4, ½-inch thick boneless pork loin chops
1 cup chopped dried fruit
- try apricots/raisins/prunes
1-2 tbs honey
Pinch of salt
Flour for dusting chops
2 tbs olive oil
2-3 tbs dry vermouth, white wine, broth or water
4 oz balsamic vinegar
4 oz granulated sugar

Soak the chopped dried fruits in warm water for a few minutes to soften the fruits. Squeeze the water from the fruits and toss with honey and salt (you can reserve this soaking water and use in place of the vermouth in this recipe).

Using a sharp knife, place your hand flat over the trimmed loin chop and gently cut a pocket into the center of the chop, leaving at least an ½-inch edge on three sides.

Preheat a skillet and the olive oil over medium-high heat. Stuff each chop with about ¼ cup of the dried fruit filling, dust with flour and add to the pre-heated pan and oil.

Sauté chops until brown and crispy on both sides, then reduce heat to medium, add the vermouth or liquid of your choice and cover, steaming for a few minutes (just to finish cooking chops through). Remove chops to a plate and cover lightly with foil to keep warm.

Then, still over medium heat, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar, deglazing the pan and scraping the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk this gastrique continuously until it comes to a simmer and thickens slightly. 

Remove from heat and strain.

For the Orange-Scented Sweet Potato Puree:

1, 1lb sweet potato, peeled, chopped and steamed
1-2 tbs olive oil
Pinch salt
2-4 tbs frozen orange juice concentrate

With a hand mixer, whip the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and frozen juice concentrate (adding these to your taste), this can be done in the pan over medium heat or in a separate bowl, returning to the heat in necessary to ensure puree is served warm.

In a deep plate or shallow bowl, make a small pool of your gastrique, top with a dollop of the puree and then top with the stuffed loin chop, either serving whole or slicing into thirds and fanning out the slices.

Serves 4.

Copyright 2008-2009.