Grilled pork chops with marinade and fresh currant sauce

words, recipe and photos by Monica Kass Rogers

FRESH BLACKCURRANT BERRIES are the culinary pearls of the fruit family. A member of the gooseberry family native to Europe, currants also grow here. White or red, each little fruit pops with a burst of tangy sweetness, with a flavor a bit like cranberry, but brighter. Thinking these flavors would be great with meat sent me to the kitchen to make both a sauce and a marinade to make some lovely bone-in grilled pork chops. To make this, you’ll use most of the same ingredients in the marinade and the sauce. The sauce also contains port, fresh lemon, shallot and agave nectar.

FOR THE CHOPS AND MARINADE

  • 4 thick bone-in pork chops
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup crushed red and white currants OR ¾ cup red currants
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Leaves of three rosemary sprigs, finely chopped to make 2 tbsp
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 1 cup red currants and 1 cup white currants OR 2 cups red
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh garlic, very finely chopped
  • 1 spring rosemary leaves, chopped
  • 1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped OR 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh juice from ½ lemon
  • 3/4 cup port
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus more to taste

MAKE THE MARINADE

Combine olive oil, crushed currants, minced garlic, chopped rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.

MARINATED PORK CHOPS

Rinse and dry the chops. Place in a Ziplock bag or shallow glass bowl and add marinade, massaging marinade into chops. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour, turning the chops halfway through the cooling time.

MAKE FRESH CURRANT SAUCE

While the chops marinate, prepare the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until boiling. Reduce the heat to simmer and mash the berries with a potato masher. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan through a fine-mesh strainer, catching the liquid in a bowl. Discard the solids from the mesh strainer. Return liquid to saucepan and simmer until reduced to sauce consistency (about 8 minutes). Taste to adjust seasoning to desired sweetness. Add a little more agave nectar if needed.

GRILLED CHOPS

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Remove chops from marinade, blot excess liquid and place on grill. Sear 3 minutes on one side; flip and sear another three minutes on the other side. Continue grilling until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove the chops from the grill and let rest for ten minutes.

SERVE

Arrange each cutlet, drizzle with currant sauce. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a few fresh blackcurrants. I like to serve it with quick sautéed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.


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