Pork Chops with Flaming Apricot Bourbon Sauce

By • March 24, 2011 • 20 Comments



Author Notes: I was a little wary of trying my hand at a flambé (for me, kitchen disaster = fire, and for me to intentionally set one seems ripe with disastrous possibility); however, my recent interest in Bourbon – in part thanks to food52 via the Hot Toddy contest - was enough to inspire an attempt. Starting with Maker’s Mark (since that is what I have been drinking), and working backwards, I decided to use pork chops, because I wanted to incorporate apricot preserves to complement the vanilla and caramel in the bourbon. I adapted the technique for pork chops from Cook’s Illustrated New Best Recipe, which has you start the chops in a cold pan to ensure tender, juicy chops. Although my first attempt at flambé was almost comedic (three people and one faulty lighter), my second, solo attempt, went WHOOSH! up in flames (a little startling, and also a little thrilling). The resulting sauce is rich and flavorful with just a hint of sweet apricot and a whisper of bourbon, a lovely complement to the juicy pork chops. Note: As with any recipe that involves intentionally lighting your food on fire, make sure you have your mise en place, because once you start, everything comes together quickly. - gingerrootgingerroot

Food52 Review: Gingerroots's pork chop recipe is delicious and simple to throw together. The sauce is sweet from the apricot preserves and boozy and tangy from the bourbon with just a touch of cream. I loved the fennel seeds and brown sugar crust that caramelized nicely on the chops. This would make a great week night dinner that has a little "flaming pizzaz"! - jvcooksjvcooks

Serves 4

  • 4 (1-inch thick) bone-in loin pork chops
  • Sea salt for seasoning chops
  • Coarse ground black pepper for seasoning chops
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, minced (white and tender light green parts only)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 Meyer lemon wedge (if using regular lemon, use 2 wedges)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teasoon Apricot preserves, stirred a bit in a small bowl
  • 1/4 cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon, poured into a measuring cup (do this while chops are finishing cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  1. If using an electric burner, start to heat it up by turning stove to medium. If using a gas burner, you can wait to heat until you are ready to start cooking chops. Keep your sauté pan (not non-stick) cold.
  2. Set chops on a large plate. Blot chops dry with a paper towel. Drizzle olive oil on both sides of each chop, about ½ t per side, just enough to coat (use finger to rub oil in). Season chops on each side with sea salt and pepper.
  3. Crush fennel seeds to a powder using a mortar and pestle. Add brown sugar and mash a few times with pestle to combine with fennel. Sprinkle fennel-brown sugar mixture on one side of each chop, evenly dividing, and pressing down lightly with your finger.
  4. Place the chops fennel-sugar side down, in a large (at least 12”), deep sauté pan, off the heat. If using electric, move pan onto preheated burner. If using gas, turn burner on to medium and move pan onto burner. After two minutes chops should start to sizzle. Cook until sugared side is browned, about 7 minutes total. Flip chops, which may require a little tug with your tongs, cover pan and turn heat down to low. Continue cooking until internal temperature registers 140-145 degrees F., between 4-6 minutes. Transfer chops to a clean plate and tent lightly with foil.
  5. Pour pan juices into a bowl and set aside. Add butter to sauté pan, let it melt, and then add minced scallions and garlic. Cook until fragrant, then squeeze lemon wedge(s) into pan and stir. Add reserved pan juices, apricot preserves and stir again. Add bourbon; let it cook for a few seconds to heat the alcohol (it may not ignite if cold) and then slightly tilting pan away from you, light the bourbon at the edge of the pan with a barbeque lighter or long kitchen match. Once flames have subsided (alcohol has burned off), immediately stir in cream and return chops to pan to coat in sauce. Serve immediately, with additional sauce and enjoy!
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Tags: bourbon, pork chop

Comments (20) Questions (1)

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5 months ago Juliebell

I love your second attempt, a little startling and also a little thrilling. I'm fixing this week and going for thrilling. Thanks for a lovely sounding recipe.

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over 3 years ago BigDaveSpoon

Great sauce, absolutely awesome! Instead of starting witha cold pan, have you tried this with a quick sear, and then finishing in the oven?

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over 3 years ago wander01

Great recipe! I served this with sweet mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach with garlic last night - all of the flavors blended together really well. Also, Scotch works as a substitute for bourbon if that's all you have on hand.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

So glad you enjoyed it, wander01! Mmmm...sweet mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach...now I know what I want to eat with these chops the next time I make it. Thanks for letting me know.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

The fennel in these is a stroke of genius! They were totally delicious. I already can't wait to make them again!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Aw, thanks, fiveandspice! Fennel seed can be strong, but I thought by using just a bit, crushing, and combining with the brown sugar it would work with the other flavors. I am so thrilled that you enjoyed them.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Congrats on the editors pick gingerroot,

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, pauljoseph!! Congrats to you on your EP! I will definitely try it during mango season.

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over 3 years ago Sagegreen

These look so inviting! Thanks for this great recipe.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

You're welcome, Sagegreen! I hope you try these - the apricot and bourbon pair nicely with the chops.

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over 3 years ago TiggyBee

Oh, I just love this gingerroot!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks so much TiggyBee!

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Wonderful combination of flavors gingerroot!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thank you, fiveandspice! Now that I have done it successfully, I think it could be fun experimenting/pairing different spirits (with all their varied and complex flavors) with other ingredients.

Me

over 3 years ago wssmom

I really LOVE Makers Mark, pork chops, apricot, brown sugar .... yummmmm!!!!!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, wssmom! If you try it, I'd love to know your thoughts about it.

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over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

This sounds soooo good! Love that you added a little fennel to the chops, and the apricot & bourbon combo sounds delish.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, hardlikearmour! The sauce is really tasty and pairs really nicely with the pork. I was happy to have it for dinner two nights in a row! : )

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Wow, gingerroot - these chops look amazing! Maker's Mark is always in my booze nook, so these are a go! I love your combination of crushed fennel seed and brown sugar.

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Thanks, Bevi! I do hope you give this a try. I always think of fennel and pork but was not sure how it would work with the other flavors...but since there is just a hint of it, combined with the brown sugar, it becomes a layer of flavor that works, I think.