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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Taking Persimmons Out For A Test Drive - Persimon® Chutney with Pork Chops



I'm not gonna lie, when the fine people from Foods from Spain offered me a free case or two of persimmons to experiment with, there was no way I was going to refuse. After being introduced to this fruit in Spain,  I realized that we only eat them raw and that I have never tried to cook with them before. Now was my chance to rectify that situation.

These sweet, seedless little beauties have finally arrived in Ontario all the way from Ribera del Xuquer, Spain (at Metro and Sobeys) and they will be available until mid January. Actually, they are available until January or until they are all gone so you should grab some soon to incorporate into your holiday menus. Because these Persimon®  persimmons don't need to be ripened, they are ready to use straight from the store. Knowing that they are already ripe takes some of the guesswork out of purchasing a fruit that might not be so familiar and you won't have to stand in the aisle, shaking it, squeezing it and knocking it off your forehead to try to figure out if it's ready to eat.  


Make sure to look for that blue sticker that says Persimon® on it to guarantee that you are getting the right kind though because some other varieties can be quite astringent. When you get them home, store them in a bowl, away from other fruit, on the counter and that's that.


I was asked to choose one of the recipes that was provided and, as always, I also experimented with them myself and those resulting dishes will be coming soon.

Since I had these big, fat pork chops burning a hole in my freezer, I settled on this Persimon® Chutney with Pork Chops. To be honest, I always think I don't like fruit with meat, but sometimes I have to remind myself that even I need to break out of my comfort zone from time to time and this was one of those times because it was delicious. The chutney was a bit spicy, a bit sweet and the fruit kept it's shape even after the 15 minutes of simmering.

One big change:
I cooked my chops using my sous vide at 140F for two hours  (a big pat of butter, kosher salt and a sprig or two of thyme on each chop) and after searing them in lots of butter, I deglazed the pan with some chicken stock, a splash of cream and a dollop of grainy mustard to make a pan sauce as well. The creamy, mustardy pan sauce was the perfect partner to this sweet and slightly spicy chutney so keep that in mind too.


Because the texture of these particular persimmons is similar to a peach or a mango so you can use this fruit in any recipe that you would normally use peaches for. Throw it in fruit crisps, pies, cakes, puree it, chop it and throw it in a smoothie, turn it into a salsa, jam or a chutney and, as I mentioned before, it's great on a cheese platter or served with charcuterie. 




Pork Chops with Persimon® Chutney

Chutney
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 ml) shallots, finely diced
3 tbsp (45 ml) pine nuts
2 cups (500 ml) Persimon®, peeled and diced
2 tbsp (30 ml) lemon juice

1/2 cup (125 ml) water
1 tsp (5 ml) ginger, minced
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (2 ml)paprika

1/4 tsp ( 1ml) red chili flakes
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
4 bone-in loin pork chops, cut 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

In a small saucepan, add the olive oil and sauté the shallot on medium low heat until soft and translucent. Add the pine nuts and stir till lightly toasted, 4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle the chops generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a large skillet to medium high and add 1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil. Put in the pork chops and sear for 5 minutes. Turn over and brown well on the second side for a total of 10 minutes. Add the Persimon® chutney to the skillet and sprinkle with cilantro. Place a lid on the skillet and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Transfer the pork chops to a serving plate and top with compote.
Makes 4 servings

Makes 4 servings
I was given free persimmons so I could try them out and share it with you but, as always, opinions are very much my own

For more info on Persimon® Persimmons, click here