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Spicy Tarragon Yogurt Chicken »

George Boler III-Michigan Beer Ranger
Spicy Tarragon Yogurt Chicken

You will need:

1 bunch fresh tarragon, leaves only
1/2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup harissa sauce or substitute 1-2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vinegar or citrus juice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 medium skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Start by pureeing tarragon, Greek yogurt, harissa sauce, garlic, vinegar, cumin, and salt in a blender until smooth. Marinade chicken breasts in sauce for 2-3 hours. Grill chicken for about 7 minutes per side on medium heated grill. Garnish with tarragon. Enjoy!

With the Pluot, I tried to use complimentary flavors to accentuate both the beer and food. The combination of the tarragon and the harissa sauce offers a slightly spicy and bright aromatic quality that really opens up the Pluot’s bold fruit flavors and slight herbal spiciness. Being a “big” fruit beer, I wanted to make sure that this dish was equally matched in strength to balance the slight alcohol warmth from the beer. The spiciness really turns the beer into something refreshing, despite its high ABV. You’ll be able to find this beer close to many of my dinner plates through the summer season.

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Thick cut pork chops with a spicy Pluot glaze and goat cheese crumbles »

Austin Whitaker-Boulder Beer Ranger
Thick cut pork chops with a spicy Pluot glaze and goat cheese crumbles
  •          2-4 Thick cut bone in pork chops 1.5”-2”
  •          1-2 bottles of New Belgium Pluot
  •          ½ cup apricot preserves (whole fruit preferred)
  •          ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  •          ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  •          ¾ cup NBB Pluot
  •          Soft goat cheese crumbles (I used Leonora)
  •          1 tbsp. butter
  •          Salt & pepper
  •          1 tbsp. canola oil

First you will want to open up a Pluot and pour into a glass and have a few sips, Isn’t that nice?  Now you’re ready to cook.  Rinse and then completely pat dry your pork chops with a paper towel.  Next give those chops a liberal dose of salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Now  you’ll need to heat up a large heavy frying pan, I use cast iron, because cast iron rocks!  Get that sucker nice and hot and a tbsp. or two of your favorite cooking oil, I used canola because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil.  Now sear all sides of the pork chops, maybe two minutes on each side.  Don’t touch the chops while they are searing so you can get a nice crust.  After all the sides are nice and crusty, turn the heat down to medium, cover the chops and slowly cook until the temperature reaches 165 degrees. It is hard to say how long this will take as it depends on how thick your chops are.

In another pot melt 1 tbsp. butter then mix in  ½ cup apricot preserves, 4-6 ounces of Pluot, and your cayenne and crushed red peppers.  Feel free to add more or less of the spices, depending on how spicy you normally like your food.  I really enjoy some heat so I went a little heavier.  Anyway, drink some more pluot and let your glaze simmer away and reduce.  You want the consistency to be similar to a gravy, so it may take a good twenty minutes. 

Once your chops are done, transfer to a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes and let all those delicious juices redistribute.  Move the glaze from the original pot and transfer into the pan you used to cook the pork in.  Scrape up all the little brown bits of goodness from the bottom of the pan and let simmer while the chops rest.

The last part is easy, just plate up the pork chops, top with some of your Pluot glaze, crumble some of that goat cheese on top and voila! 

I decided on this recipe for a few different reasons.  First off, I love pork, a lot.  Secondly, I wanted to pair up this fruit beer with a main course rather than a dessert. 

Pluot is a fun fruit beer brewed with Pluot juice.  Pluots, being a plum and apricot love child, tend to lean more on the plum side as far characteristics go.  I wanted to make a dish that helped bring out a little more of the apricot in the beer, and I thought a spin on the classic apricot glaze would be fun.  The spiciness & fruitiness  of the glaze really play well of the big alcohol and Pluot juice in the beer. Since the pork chop is generally a leaner cut of meat I wanted to add some richness to stand up to the medium-full body mouth feel of the beer, and that is where the goat cheese comes in.   The cheese adds a nice creamy texture to go with the fuller body of the beer and the fat in the cheese really stands up to the big abv.  You get a bit of like flavors as well as some contrasting flavors all in the same dish.  I hope you enjoy it!