Peachy Pork Chops

I feel fortunate to have been raised in a family that liked to can and preserve food — and lucky to have a wife who shares my passion. And I sometimes take it for granted that everyone knows how to put up goodies that can be enjoyed months after they’ve been in season.

That presumption was proved wrong this past week when Kathleen Shea, former reporter for the Philadelphia Daily New, offered me some homemade peach cobbler before our afternoon budget huddle at the Herald.

Kathleen, who moved her a couple of years ago with her husband, Rich Aregood, the Charles R. Johnson Professor of Journalism at UND and former Pulizter Prize-winning editorial page editor at the Philadelphia Daily News, recently joined us a few hours a week to critique the newspaper.

Kathleen said she had bought some Colorado peaches at the downtown Farmers Market from the Grand Forks Youth for Christ, which has been conducting its annual fundraiser. I told her that we were going to be get some peaches and were going to can some of them. She then said that she was deathly afraid of canning. I assured her there was nothing to it and that canning using the water-bath method was a lot different that using a pressure cooker.

We didn’t can all of our peaches. We kept some to eat, and I may use some of them in a recipe or two, including the following one with pork chops.

Pork Chops with Peaches
2 strips bacon
4 pork chops
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
¾ cup dry white wine
3 to 4 fresh peaches, chopped in ½-inch cubes
6 to 8 leaves fresh basil, sliced in thin strips
Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp; drain on paper-towel-lined plate. When cool, crumble.
Meanwhile, season chops with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add oil to skillet if needed so that chops won’t stick; add chops to skillet. Cook over medium high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 5 minutes per side. Remove from skillet; keep warm. (If using thick chops, you may need to finish in the oven; do so at 350 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes.)
Add wine to skillet; cook, scraping bottom of pan to loosen any bits from the chops, until reduced slightly, 2 minutes. Add peaches to skillet; season with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until warmed through and slightly softened, 5 minutes.
Return chops to skillet; spoon peaches over. Divide chops among 4 plates, topped by peaches, crumbled bacon and basil.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 218 calories, 49 percent of calories from fat, 12 grams fa (4 grams saturated fat), 65 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams carbohydrates, 20 grams protein, 422 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.