Florida Glazed Pork Chops with Carambola

Now cultivated in Florida, the glossy, golden, sweet carambola (also known as star fruit) is but one of the new exotic tropical fruits being used to add depth to one style of Southern cooking. Available in many specialty food markets and some upscale supermarkets from early fall to midwinter, carambolas range from three to five inches in length, are easily identified by their five distinctive ribs (the broader the rib, the sweeter the fruit), and require no peeling. Floridians use carambolas not only in salads and desserts but also to enhance any number of otherwise ordinary dishes, such as these glazed pork chops.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 medium-thick loin pork chops, trimmed of excess fat
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 teaspoons fresh orange rind
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large carambola, rinsed well and thinly sliced
  • Fresh watercress for garnish

Method

In a large heavy skillet, melt the butter over moderate heat, arrange the pork chops in the pan, and brown well on both sides. Add 3 tablespoons of the orange juice, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the chops till tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch, allspice, cloves, orange rind, and salt and pepper in a small saucepan, add the remaining orange juice, and stir over low heat till well blended and smooth. Add the carambola slices and simmer about 3 minutes.

To serve, place the pork chops on plates, spoon a little glaze over each portion, top each with carambola slices, and garnish with watercress.

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