FRESH CURRANT 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 tiny fruit pops with a burst of tart sweetness, with flavor a bit like cranberry, but brighter. Thinking those flavors would be very nice with meat sent me to the kitchen to work up both a sauce, and marinade to prepare for nice, fat grilled bone-in pork chops. To make it, you’ll use most of the same ingredients in the marinade and the sauce. The sauce also has some port, fresh lemon, shallot, and agave nectar in it.
FOR THE CHOPS AND MARINADE
- 4 thick-cut, bone in pork chops
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup crushed red and white currants OR ¾ cup red currants
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Leaves from three sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped to make 2 Tbsp
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly cracked pepper
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 cup red and 1 cup white currants OR 2 cups red
- 1/8 tsp fresh garlic, very finely minced
- Leaves from 1 spring of rosemary, chopped
- 1 small shallot, peeled and finely chopped OR 2 Tbsp finely minced sweet onion
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 2 tsp fresh juice from the ½ lemon
- 3/4 cup port
- 2 Tbsp agave nectar, plus more to taste
Combine olive oil, crushed currants, minced garlic, chopped rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.
MARINATE PORK CHOPS
Rinse and pat dry chops. Place in a Ziplock bag or shallow glass bowl and add marinade, massage marinade into the chops. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour, turning chops over half way through chilling time.
MAKE FRESH CURRANT SAUCE
While the chops marinate, make the sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients in a small pot over medium heat. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and crush berries with a potato masher. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour contents of pot into a fine mesh strainer, capturing the liquid in a bowl. Discard solids from mesh strainer. Place liquid back into pot and simmer until reduced into sauce consistency (about 8 minutes.) Taste to adjust seasoning for desired sweetness. Add a bit more agave nectar if needed.
Heat grill to medium high. Remove chops from marinade pat off excess liquid and place on grill. Sear 3 minutes on one side; flip and sear another three minutes on other side. Continue grilling until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove chops from grill and allow to rest for ten minutes.
Plate each chop, drizzle with currant sauce. Garnish with rosemary sprig and a few fresh currant berries. I like to serve this with quick-sauteed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes.
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