Pork with Sour Cherries
“Life is just a bowl of cherries” sang Ethel Merman in 1931… I am amused, though, to see that the song does not refer to a basic fact of both life and cherries – there is both sweet and sour. And if you know how, you can make the most of the sour, as well as the sweet…
Sour cherries – also known in the US as pie cherries. We tend to think of all fruit as sweet, but that’s not true – cranberries and pomegranates, for instance, are prized for their sour flavor. Sometimes they are sweetened, but often pomegranates, especially, are used for that tart flavor, to add interest to a savory dish. In the US, people tend to sweeten sour cherries to use in pies and other desserts because of their more intense flavor, but Europeans use them in savory dishes, including a cold soup! They have a very short harvest – most of the crop is canned (and most canned cherries are sour cherries with sugar) – and they are not always easy to get fresh, so when I see them, I grab them (and freeze some for another day.)
I had some pork loin to cook – not quite enough for a full meal for both of us so I needed to add something… I have some walnuts, which would stretch the meat, but needed something to balance the flavor – and I have the cherries I just got at Greenmarket. I thought that would be a lovely combination. And it was.
I started, as I so often do, by cutting the pork into bite sized pieces, sauteing some onion, and sauteing the meat. When it started to brown, I added chicken broth. (Two cubes I froze the last time I made it – about a quarter of a cup.) I just let it simmer about 10 minutes, until the meat was cooked.
Meanwhile, I pitted cherries until I had half a cup. I have invested in a cherry pitter – one of those single use tools you don’t really need, but which come in handy if you buy cherries in quantity to freeze – so I had whole cherries with a hole in them. Cutting them in half with a knife works just as well. (Or possibly better – see below…)
When the pork was cooked, I added the cherries and a quarter cup of walnuts. I just stirred them around until the cherries were lightly cooked, then added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to help pull the flavors together.
It was delicious. Rich did comment that it might have been even better if the cherries had been cut in half – spreading the tart flavor out into more, but less individually intense, mouthfuls. So much for my cherry pitter! I actually liked the contrast between a forkful with a cherry and one without – decide for yourself.
Set off the rich flavor of pork and walnuts with the delightfully tart taste of sour cherries, for a quick and easy - but interesting - meal.
5 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 1 small onion
- 6 oz boneless pork loin
- olive oil for pan
- 1/4 c chicken broth
- 1/2 c pitted sour cherries
- 1/4 c walnuts
- 1-2 t balsamic vinegar
- Chop the onion. Cut the pork loin into bite sized cubes.
- Heat the oil in a pan. Saute the onion until soft, add the pork. Saute until lightly browned. Add the broth, lower the light, and simmer about 10 minutes, until pork is done.
- Add the pitted cherries and the walnuts. Stir until heated through, and the cherries start to cook lightly, but remove from heat before they start to burst.
- Add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar - or pass at the table, for each to add their own.