Pecan Encrusted Pork with Black Cherry Reduction

Gourmet doesn't need to be synonymous with expensive.  I am pretty frugal so I take every opportunity to cut expenses without sacrificing quality.  Brining a regular pork loin creates a moist, tender cut that is a fraction of the price of tenderloin and creates significantly more servings.  For even greater economy of both time and money look for whole pork loins then cut, brine, package the number of portions you use for a meal and freeze so they are on hand when you need them.  

I purchased a whole pork loin on sale for less than two dollars a pound then proceeded to cut several thick chops, for recipes such as this one, as well as thin strips for stir fries and soups along with a several thin cutlets.  I brined the meat after cutting to reduce the time needed in the brine.     

  • 1 Quart of water
  • 3T. Kosher salt
  • 3T. Sugar

Place cuts of like-size in the same container and cover with prepared brining liquid. Allow small or thin cuts to brine for two or three hours in the fridge and thick cuts a bit longer--four to six hours. Remove from the brine and pat dry.  Freeze in vacuum seal bags* for maximum protection.  

*Savings tip: Use regular freezer bags to separate the meal-sized portions (two chops in a bag, etc.) then place several of these in a larger vacuum bag.  When it comes time to use an inner bag of meat, whack the larger bag on the edge of the counter to break apart the inner bags then cut as small a hole as possible to extract an inner bag then re-vacuum and seal the larger bag before returning it to the freezer.  By using one larger vacuum bag (cut from a roll) you save the excess length required for sealing several smaller bags that need that extra sealing length at both ends for each and every bag.  I use this method to conserve vacuum bags when freezing all types of food. 

Pecan Encrusted Pork with Black Cherry Reduction

The combination of succulent brined pork and black cherries with just a hint of sweetness provide the perfect complement to the toasted pecan crust.  This dish finishes in the oven allowing time to prepare the sauce and side dishes as well as get the kitchen under control.

Ingredients:  Pecan-encrusted Pork

  • 2 thick cut (brined, boneless) pork loin chops
  • 1/4-1/2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 c. Finely chopped  pecans
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper.  Dust with flour and shake to remove excess.  Quick tip:  The pork can be floured by shaking in a paper bag. Discard the leftover flour and bag for quick clean-up.

Coat each chop with the beaten egg then press the pecans firmly onto both sides.

Heat a skillet over medium to med-hi heat and coat the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil.

Brown the pork on both sides. Remove to an oven safe dish and place in pre-heated oven.
Cook to an internal temperature of 170 degrees (test with a meat thermometer).   The time to finish will depend on the thickness of the cut.  Mine typically take 20-30 minutes.

If excess oil remains drain the pan but don't remove the fond (tasty brown bits)

Ingredients:  Black Cherry Reduction
  • 1/2 Pint**  Black cherries canned in juice, drain and reserve juice
  • 1/2 Pint**  Chicken broth
  • 1 T Peppercorn extract
  • 3 Cloves of Galic, peeled and sliced in half
  • 2 T Butter
  • 1/2 Lime
**I used my home-canned cherries and broth so they are listed in half-pint (8 ounce) sizes.  If you are using commercially prepared ingredients you can opt to adjust the amounts of the other ingredients to make a higher volume of sauce or just measure and use the amount needed.


To the dirty pan used to brown the pork, add the cherrry juice, broth, extract (if you do not have peppercorn extract add a tablespoon of brandy and toss in a teaspoon--or two if you like pepper--of whole peppercorns) and garlic.  Simmer over medium heat to concentrate the flavors and thicken the sauce.  Do not adjust seasoning until the sauce is reduced as they will intensify as the liquid evaporates.

Remove the garlic and peppercorns.  If you prefer a pristine sauce you can strain through a fine sieve.  I'm fine with a more rustic presentation.  When the liquids are reduced to a glaze and a spatula leaves a path in the pan add the butter and lime juice. Warm the cherries separately so any residual liquid in the fruit does not dilute the sauce.

Serve the pork with your choice of starch and vegetable.  I typically use sauteed spinach or steamed broccoli.

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