Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Easy Dinners: Pom-Peach Compote Pork Chops

It's the hottest part of the summer! Making dinner when your house is sweltering is probably not you favorite things to do. I understand. That's why my blog comes in handy. I try my darndest to make things easier, with easy sauces, make aheads and quick tricks to make it easier to get dinner on the table without all the fuss and muss. In that arena, I like compotes. Compotes are basically a fruit "boiled" down in it's own juice or in water and sugar until the pectin in it's meat / skin breakdown and thicken it. My favorite way to use compotes is to pour them over meat when I usually would just throw them in the oven with a few sprinkling of spices. Like today....I took out Pork Chops. I usually sprinkle "Complete seasoning", some garlic, salt & pepper and a dash of olive oil and they're in the oven.
Today I just wasn't in the mood. I wanted more.

So I looked through my fridge and found the container with my homemade cranberry sauce...nope. Then I spotted the compote I made from Peaches and Pomegranate juice the other night for my poundcakes and the lighbulb came on! Pomegranate juice is tart, Peaches are sweet, now if I just add a layer of spice I'm golden. Sure enough...I had it! I took the pork chops sprinkled with Complete Seasoning, garlic and Red Pepper Flakes then spooned some of the compote over them, placed them in the oven and Voila! Beautifully seasoned, moist and flavorful pork chops with no muss and fuss!! Just the kind of stuff I like to pass on to you guys!

This post is about compotes. Not necessarily pork chops.

Compotes; How do you make them? How do you save them? How do you use them? Those are the questions I'll answer for you.

What are Compotes?
Well, as I explained compotes are a "sauce like" component that is made from "cooking/boiling" fruit in water and sugar or in juice. The juice can be it's own juice (ie: peaches in peach nectar or oranges in orange juice etc...) Now, I am the kind of person who like to live on the edge (LOL) I like combining flavors. In this case I combined pomegranate juice and chopped peaches. (Left the skin on) added a little sugar because I was initially going to used in a Baked item (poundcake) where it would need a sweeter note. This made for a great savory addition because the mixture of the sweet and tart. Adding the red pepper flakes added an additional layer of flavor to bring it more to the savory side. You can do this with many things.
Think about this... Maybe I wanted to make those pork Chops BBQ. Could I still have used the compote? SURE ! How you ask? It's Easy.... Take a cup of the compote, add some ketchup (or tomato juice), worcestershire, grated onion and  liquid smoke and I now have a Pom-Peach BBQ Sauce. Oh, and by the way... Have some Regular bottle BBQ sauce at home? Honey BBQ, Original BBQ, Chipotle BBQ? Add some compote to the already made BBQ sauce and You are THE HERO of that BBQ! Nobody will ever know how easy that was! See??? It's not really hard. but, that's what I'm here for. to give you the inspiration!
How do I save the compote once it's made? There are many ways. Do you do any canning? Jar these babies up and have them all winter long. Don't can? No problem. Let the Compote cool completely. place in a closed container in your fridge. It will last for a few weeks (2-3). Want to keep it longer? Freeze it.
Place 1 cup amounts of the cooled compote in ziploc bags and lay flat in your freezer. When you need it again, take it out and let it defrost in the fridge.
How do you use Compotes? Ohhhhh the uses never end! As I said previously I use them in poundcakes, and as a glaze for pork chops. How about as a filling for a cupcake, a topping for a shortcake, a topping for your favorite ice cream, a topping for your morning toast? I love compotes as a fresh side for a heavy meal.
Compotes can be used in lots and lots of ways! Be daring, think of different pairings for more hits on those flavor receptors! You are going to love them! Enjoy!