A recipe from Bluestem: The Cookbook, by Chefs Megan and Colby Garrelts
We usually have one main course on the summer menu that casually nods toward barbecue, which is an integral part of our local culture. Kansas City barbecue relies on a combination of sweetness, smokiness, and spicy heat, with just a touch of acidity to balance it all out. You’ll find all of these flavors in the sweet and sour peaches that accompany the pork.
2 tbsp. grape seed oil
4 firm but ripe peaches, halved and pitted
2 young onion bulbs (or small white onions), sliced ½ inch thick
2 scallions, halved lengthwise
1½ cups bourbon
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup sherry vinegar
½ cup Madeira
½ cup honey
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
5 cardamom pods
2 tbsps. salt
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic salt
4 double-cut pork loin chops, attached in rack form and trussed
2 tbsps. grapeseed oil
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Halve each peach along its seam. The peach will open with the pit lying flat, making it much easier to lever it out with a paring knife. Place the peaches, onion slices, and scallions, cut side down, in the skillet. Griddle them until the peaches and onions caramelize and the scallions have just begun to soften, turning the onions and scallions as needed, about 20 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the peaches, onions, and scallions to a plate.
Bring the bourbon, orange juice, vinegar, Madeira, honey, pepper, and cardamom to a simmer in a large saucepan over high heat. Lower the heat to medium to maintain a gentle simmer and reduce the sauce until it is thick and syrupy, about one hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the salt, brown sugar, pepper, chili powder, paprika, and garlic salt in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning mix over the pork, coating the meat generously with all of it.
Heat the grape seed oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, brown the rack of pork, turning the meat often to prevent the rub from burning. Place the browned rack of pork, with the bones pointing upward, on a rack set over a roasting pan. Roast the meat in the oven for 25 minutes for a slightly pink interior. Let the meat rest for at least 15 minutes.
Bring the reduced sauce to a gentle simmer in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peaches and onions—but not the scallions—and let them cook in the sauce, which should thicken and bubble, for a couple of minutes. Turn the onions and peaches over to coat them with the saucy glaze.
To serve, cut the pork rack into 4 equal-size “chops.” Transfer the glazed peaches, onions, and scallions from the skillet to 4 plates. Drizzle some of the syrup over and around them. Serve them with the pork chops. Serves four.
Bluestem: The Cookbook, by Megan and Colby Garrelts (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $45.00 November 2011)