Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 219: Playing with Blueberries

Last night, I made a grand discovery. I made my very first savory blueberry sauce and had it over a pork chop--you must try this immediately. I got the idea from a roasted raspberry barbecue sauce that got me wondering if I could innovate my own roasted berry sauce, plus a fancy blueberry and mustard reduction I had with venison sausage at West of Paris when it was still open. I couldn't get my hands on any venison, but I certainly could find an abundance of pork, and I figured pork goes with mustard, pork goes with beer--this will be good. And it really was.

Here's how I did it:

Toss about two cups of blueberries in a tablespoon of olive oil, plus salt, pepper, and a half teaspoon of dried thyme. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes, until the berries start to pop.
Meanwhile, cook your pork chop on the stove top.
Once the chops are done, let them rest and ditch any excess fat you had in the pan. Deglaze with wheat beer (a couple turns of the pan) and add a generous tablespoon of grainy mustard (you could even go up to two). Stir until combined, then add your roasted blueberries to the mixture and allow the mixture to cook and reduce for about five minutes.
By then your pork chops should be rested. Spoon the berries and their lovely sauce over the chop.
Eat your heart out.

I also made something I could call Blueberries Ender, kind of like Bananas Foster, but its recipe was less perfect. It did involve white sugar, butter, and orange juice being cooked awhile in a saute pan before berries were thrown in and cooked, then alcohol was added in the form of Grand Marnier, which isn't alcoholic enough to produce a good flame but gives a lovely depth to the syrup. But that's the thing--I didn't really cook this long enough to get it to where I wanted it to be. Too thin, with too much alcohol. But it was still yummy, and I will perfect the recipe next time. I did, however, meld several pound cake recipes together to create what I will now claim as my own. It was fantastic with the blueberry syrup or even solo:

Orange Honey Pound Cake

Preheat your oven to 325F, with the rack in the center of the oven.
Butter and flour a standard loaf pan.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
the zest of one orange
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup light sour cream

Sift together the first three ingredients; set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time until they are incorporated. Add vanilla, orange zest, honey, and sour cream; mix until smooth.
On low speed, add the sifted flour mixture in three batches, allowing each batch to fully incorporate before adding the next.
Scoop batter into loaf pan; bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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