Fruit and sweet onions enhance pork chops

Gee, whiz !! What a great response to my daughter's rib recipe. Goes to show you how popular the American tradition of barbecuing ribs are.

But I must say that for those doubting Thomases (we received a lot of calls) that, yes, you do wrap the ribs with plastic wrap and bake them with it on. If you follow the directions of this recipe, you will have no problem with the plastic wrap melting.

The recipe that we are doing today is another indoor/outdoor combination. The roots of this recipe come from the French side of the Pyrenees. You can find variations in some of the old French Basque cookbooks or bistro cookbooks from France. Both claim proprietary rights, and both have little nuances that make them different. The French sweeten the onions with balsamic vinegar, and the Basque use sherry wine vinegar. I add brown sugar to both.

Since I am doing the recipe in the Basque-style and have prepared it many times at home, to the delight of family and friends, Karen and I are sharing it with you to help celebrate the upcoming St. Teresa's Basque Festival.

This festival is truly one of the great family-oriented celebrations held annually in Carson City. I wholeheartedly recommend that you and your family experience this amazing day at Fuji Park. There is fun for all - and the food's not bad, either. You need to come and meet all of the great cooks from Ely; it's something really special.

The other aspect of this recipe that makes it so nice is that the onion season is in full bloom, and they are plentiful at the Carson City farmers market. The quality this year is exceptional and demands creativity, so you can use them in as many ways as possible.

Nevada does not take a back seat to anyone, including Hawaii, Texas, etc. Whether you know it or not, this is a great onion-growing region, and Yerington is known as the onion capital amongst culinary professionals, not only regionally but internationally.

Also, apples are starting to show up from Apple Hill so this makes this recipe prime for delivery.

Pork Full-Cut Porterhouse Chops

2 T. sweet butter

1 T. brown sugar

2 cups thinly sliced sweet yellow onions

1/3 cup sherry wine vinegar

2 cups tart firm apples (green Pippin or Granny Smith), 3/8-inch diced and peeled

1/4 cup sun-dried cherries quarter

1/2 cup chicken stock

2 T. chopped Italian parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

4 Porterhouse-cut pork chops (11/4 inch thick)

In a 10- or 12-inch sauté pan. melt the butter at medium to medium-low heat. Add the sweet onions and slowly let them cook. Stir about every 8 minutes for approximately 20 minutes. The onions should be translucent and turning golden brown. At this time, add the brown sugar and stir constantly until it is totally dissolved.

Turn up the heat to medium-high and keep stirring. Add the vinegar and then the sun-dried cherries. Keep stirring until the liquid is almost totally reduced or evaporated. Add a quarter cup of the chicken stock (reserve the rest in case you need it at the end).

Now add the apples and gently stir until they and the stock are totally reduced. You should have the consistency of a nice chutney. Add the parsley, toss, and check to see if pepper and kosher salt are needed. I like to add fresh ground pepper and do not find it needs salt.

The relish recipe will easily take care of six good -size pork porterhouses. You can serve the caramelized onions and apples either hot or cold, on top of the chops or on the side. Whatever is your preference.

Make sure when you buy the porterhouse pork chops that you buy organic or natural. This means that they have the loin and tenderloin left on the bone. You might want to talk to your butcher and order ahead. It will be well worth it. I know the people at Butler's would be happy to help.

Pork is a leaner meat than beef and can be very dry if overcooked. I find that the perfect temperature is medium and done on a medium-hot barbecue with white embers. It usually takes about 6 to 8 minutes per side. Season the porterhouse chops with a light salt-and-pepper rub. If you want, pat a little brown sugar on them to caramelize the meat, but don't use too much. Whatever you do, don't put any garlic on them. It is a direct conflict with the onions and apples.

A nice fruit salad is a good accompaniment to this recipe with a purée or mashed sweet potatoes as a starch.

For a beverage, I recommend a dry riesling. I just tried an exceptional one called Trefethen. This wine was made for this dish and is truly one of the finest of this style of wine that I have tasted from California in my life. See the friendly people at Ben's Liquor and Aloha Liquor. If they don't have it available, ask them to get it.

As always enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!

n Charlie Abowd is the owner and chef at Adele's. He and his wife, Karen, have lived in Carson City since 1980. Charlie is a fourth-generation restaurateur.


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