Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Thinking Outside the Griddle!

So I was challenged by Pure Canadian Maple Syrup to create a dish featuring pure maple syrup. It could be the only sweetener used in the recipe, and only one container could be used to prepare the dish. My choice of pot was easy...my trusty Dutch oven! I love making stews and braises in it, so I put my thinking cap on to come up with a dish that would really showcase the maple syrup. 

Did you know that maple syrup contains over 54 antioxidants? It also has lower calories than honey, and is an excellent source of manganese (helps in energy production) and riboflavin (which aids in the metabolic process). For more info on the health benefits, and for a cool depiction of how maple syrup is made, visit purecanadamaple.com.

My entry is Coriander-Maple Braised Pork and Pumpkin. First, boneless pork chops are seasoned with coriander and seared. The pork, pumpkin and chickpeas are then braised in a combination of maple syrup, vegetable broth, lemon juice, and a little apple cider vinegar. Onion, garlic, serrano pepper and fresh cilantro round out the flavor profile. A nice blend of sweet, tangy and spice; this recipe is a great braise for the Fall season!


4 boneless pork chops
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp ground coriander
3/4 cup flour
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1 lb pumpkin, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, 15.5 oz, drained and rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1. Rub pork chops with sea salt, black pepper and 1 tbsp of the coriander. Lightly coat pork chops in flour on both sides. 
2. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in Dutch oven (at least 3.5 qt capacity) over medium heat. Add pork and let brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pot. 
3. Add remaining olive oil, onion and serrano pepper to the pot. Saute for 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, garlic and chickpeas and mix well.
4. In a bowl, combine vegetable broth, pure maple syrup, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and remaining tbsp of coriander. Pour over the vegetables. Return pork chops to the pot and nestle into sauce. 
5. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour. Lift lid and stir once, about halfway through. 
6. To serve, garnish with a few fresh cilantro leaves. Makes 4 servings.


So I doubt you will have any leftovers, simply because this dish tastes so good, but if you do, here's an idea! Dice the remaining pork chop(s). Puree the pumpkin and chickpeas in a blender and add to jarred tomato sauce. Heat through and serve the sauce with your favorite pasta, with the diced pork on top. It amps up the nutritional value and the flavor of a jarred sauce.