Good flavor in food is achieved by balancing sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. It is these combinations in a variety of percentages that make foods turn into feasts. So many cooks are afraid to experiment, to play with their food that they resign themselves to a lifetime of predictable eating, of foods that are filling and nutritious to the body without sparking life in the soul. The trick for all of us is to create something at each meal that satisfies our deep need to create excellence.
Pork is a delicate and sweet meat that has a robust texture. It can handle many flavors but seems to shine when intense, fruity flavors are involved. This date and balsamic sauce is rich and flavorful enough to bring out the best in the pork, which in turn is given a bit of an extra shazaam with a maple and liquid smoke glaze.
Don’t go overboard on the menu here. The flavors of the main course are heavy so create everything else with a light touch.
Need a menu?
Pork Loin with Date Balsamic Sauce
Arugula with tangerine and a quick tangerine vinaigrette
Sour Dough with a thick, crisp crust
A simple poached pear or baked apple for dessert
- 1 cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped ginger
- 1/2 inch piece of dried chipotle
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 cups of chicken stock
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- Olive oil
- Saute onion, garlic, chipotle, and ginger in olive oil until onion just begins to caramelize.
- Add dates and one cup of chicken stock, vinegar, and liquid smoke
- Simmer, adding stock as needed to keep the mixture from sticking, until sauce is reduced and ingredients are all cooked together
- Taste and adjust seasoning
Pork Loin Chops
- 8 loin chops
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp powdered chipotle OR maple pepper
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 1 tbs liquid smoke
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Rub a grill pan with olive oil and heat until it begins to smoke
- Rub chops with maple pepper and salt
- Lay on hottest part of grill pan to set grill marks
- When you have good grill marks flip and set grill marks on the other side
- Remove to baking dish
- Mix maple syrup and liquid smoke and rub on meat
- Bake about 30 minutes or until done. Depends on thickness of chops.
- Serve the chops with the date-balsamic sauce