WINE WITH…Pork Chops Stuffed with Fresh Peaches
Apples are surely what one thinks of as the best fruit partner for pork, but fresh
peaches might be just as popular if they weren’t so dependent on seasonality. Decent apples are available almost year-round, but peaches tend to be mealy, dry and flavorless except in late summer. In the northern hemisphere, July, August and September are generally when you will find deliciously juicy peaches bursting with flavor. So, now is the time to make the most of them—which entails a partnership with pork and pairing with a delicious wine.
Pork Chops Stuffed with Fresh Peaches
Serve these chops with rice or noodles:
--2 bone-in pork chops
--Salt and pepper
--2 small, ripe peaches
--1 small clove garlic, minced
--One pinch (about ¼ teaspoon) dried thyme or oregano
--Red pepper flakes, Thai Chile sauce, Sriracha or other chili sauce to taste (optional)
With a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket in the side of the pork chops opposite the bone. Season the chops all over with salt and pepper and set aside.
Peel the peaches and cut the flesh into pieces about the size of a lima bean. Place them in a small bowl to capture any juices, and stir in the garlic, chili sauce and thyme. Carefully fill each pork pocket with the peach slices.
Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a sturdy skillet and carefully lower the pork chops into the pan. Sear them over medium-high heat, then turn them and cook until done to taste (remember that overdone pork will be dry).
Scoop up any peach slices that might have fallen out during cooking. And if there were too many peach slices to fit into the pork-pockets, add them to the skillet once the chops have been removed and stir them around in a warm skillet for a minute or two. Distribute all these stray bits of peach next to the chop.
Pork’s relatively mild flavor makes it a good companion to a reasonably wide range of wines (at a wide range of prices), but this does not mean that the wine, whether white, pink, or red, should be one-dimensional. Of the handful of wines I selected to try with this dish, the best ones had a particular distinctive fruitiness—not to be confused with sweetness—that married well with the pork and peach duet.
Terlato Wines (Central Coast, California) Chardonnay “Big Max” 2018
($27): The “Big” part of Big Max is what works well here—but it works because the wine is satisfyingly balanced, with generous fruit flavors and robust texture that link beautifully with both peaches and meat.
Château Montaud (Côtes de Provence, France) Rosé 2020
($15, Monsieur Touton): Like all the wines that were delicious with the dish, it was the up-front fruit in this one that made a particularly appetizing link to the peach-accented pork chops.
Chappellet, Russian River Valley (Sonoma County, California) Pinot Noir Bateman Vineyard “Grower Collection” 2017
($60): The fact that Pinot Noir tends to be pretty low in tannins is one reason it is often a red wine that can be so pleasing with pork. The red fruit flavors that stand out in this delicious Chappellet Pinot Noir marry nicely with the peaches as well as with the pork itself.