Thursday, July 15, 2010

Peach Perfection

I don't have very many truly blissful memories from my childhood that involve my father.  It's a long story and this is a happy place so I won't go into detail but, let's just say that time and anger have erased many of them.  One that I do have, however, is a dish he used to make every once in a while.  He didn't cook much.  Usually just steaks.  But once in a blue moon he would make what I remember him calling "Canton Pork Chops".  When I was small I thought it was "Can-Time Pork Chops" which made perfect sense to me at the time.  When we had it he used home canned peaches which was part of what made it such a treat.  We didn't have peach trees so someone had to give them to us and we cherished them down to the last lick of peach juice.  Once I reached adulthood it dawned on me one day that it was one of my favorite things that I hadn't had in literally at least a decade and a half.  I didn't know exactly know how he made it and my mom didn't have a recipe around but I could remember how it tasted.  Savory but just a little sweet with a hint of cinnamon and spice.  So one day, I bought some pork chops and fresh peaches and set out to find a little piece of heaven, my childhood, and the good parts of my dad.  I decided to alter it a little today, using a pork loin roast instead of pork chops, and I actually took the time to remember what I did and photograph it and share it with you.  So here you are, a piece of my childhood and my heart.

Season a pork loin roast with salt and pepper.  You can use pork chops also, obviously, but today I used a roast because it was what I had.  Be generous with the S&P.

Heat a stainless steal or cast iron pan until it's rocket hot.  Add a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and let it get rocket hot.  Then add the meat, seasoned side down, and let it sizzle and crackle and pop for a good long while.  In the mean time season the other side.

Properly seared meat should look like this.  Caramelized and crusty.  YUM!

Take the meat out of the pan and take the pan off of the heat to cool a little.  Turn the heat on the stove down to just above low.  Then add a tablespoon of salted butter and let it melt.

Add two cloves of chopped garlic to the butter and let it cook for just one minute to start to release the flavor.  

Then add 3 cups of sliced peaches.  Please use either fresh, frozen, or home canned.  The ones in the cans at the grocery store that you can find in fruit cocktail are scary and don't cook well.  Trust me, don't go there.  Also add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and salt and pepper.  Stir everything to combine and use your spoon to get all of the "yummy bits" off of the bottom of the pan.  You don't have to cook the peaches through because they'll spend a long time in the oven.  

Pour the peach sauce over the roast in a baking dish and then put in the oven at 350 degrees.  I guess I should have told you to pre-heat the oven to 350, huh?  Well, there, I just told you.  Anyway, then cover the dish with aluminum foil and let it bake for about an hour depending on the size of the cut of meat you are using.

This is what it will look like when it comes out of the oven.  The peaches will shrivel a bit and brown.  The yumminess will meld with the meat and you will be happy when you eat it.  I promise!

Let the meat rest about 15 minutes and then slice it thin against the grain.  Top it with the peaches and a little bit of the sauce.  Then eat.  Eat and think of me.  This particular dish gives me the warm fuzzies inside.  I hope it gives them to you as well!

1 comment:

  1. I was so very pleased and surprised by this rec. I was wary of the vanilla/cinnamon with savory and my kitchen smelled like cinnabon when I took it out of the oven, but it was so very very good. Thank you for the rec, it will be come an often repeater in our dinner menus.