It’s time for this month’s “4 Ingredient Challenge.” Last month a few of my fellow BBQ bloggers started this monthly feature where we take four randomly selected ingredients and come up with a whole meal based on them. This months ingredients were: pork chops, rice, zucchini and raspberries. The only real rule is that the protein has to be cooked outdoors over some type of “live fire.”
Here’s my entry for this months “challenge.” Pork Chops with Cola Raspberry Balsamic Reduction and grilled zucchini…
Cola Raspberry Balsamic Reduction
- 1 12 oz bottle GuS Dry Cola*
- 1 6 0z container Fresh Raspberries
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- Sugar, to taste
Pour soda and raspberries into a medium sauce pan and bring to small boil. Cook until raspberries are soft. With a mixer, blender or other appliance puree the ingredients. Strain the liquid, to remove all seeds and any remain pulp. Return to saucepan and bring to a simmer. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced to almost a syrup consistency. Add the Balsamic vinegar and whatever sugar you need to take any tartness away.
*I used the GuS Dry Cola (Grown up Soda) because it is lightly sweetened with cane sugar. This lightly sweetened cola allowed me to have more control over the sweetness than if I’d used a more readily available cola.
The reduction reduced from all the liquid you see down to about 5 ounces of great tasting sauce. I think if I were to do it again I would cut the amount of raspberries in half so more of the cola flavor came out.
A few weeks ago I received some amazing products from Bushelle Seasonings. These all natural seasonings are made from fresh herbs and seasonings. When I first opened the box and looked at the jars I realized it wasn’t anything like what I was expecting. When I opened the jars I was greeted with a fantastic aroma. But what to do with them…
I decided to make a basic brine for the pork chops and add some Bushelle Garlic Seasoning.
BBQ Grail’s Bushelle Seasoning Brine
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon Bushelle Seasoning
Heat water, salt and brown sugar to a boil. When all the ingredients are dissolved remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Add Bushelle Seasoning to brine. Place pork chops and brine in a plastic bag and brine the chops for four to five hours.
Remove the chops from the brine, rinse off the salt and let air dry.
I also grilled the zucchini using a little olive oil and “Butter Blast” from Instant Gourmet. As usual the GrillGrates gave me great grill marks and some fantastic chops and veggies.
The brine for the pork chops was incredible. The Bushelle Seasonings added a robust herbal flavor. I’m not sure exactly what is in the there, but it’s also got just a little bite.
Celeste also used the Bushelle Seasoning Original in her rice pilaf. This is a great product and I can’t wait to come up with other ways to incorporate it into my BBQ dishes.
Besides the rice pilaf Celeste helped with a dessert that fit right in with our ingredient theme. She used the Dark Chocolate Linguine, we purchased in Seattle on our recent trip, along with a raspberry sauce. Topped with ice cream and/or whipped cream it made for a good dessert.
The linguine didn’t have nearly enough chocolate flavor but vanilla ice cream and whipped cream more than made up for it.
All and all it was a great meal. Fantastic, juicy pork chops along with a nice rice side dish and grilled veggies made for a great end for the day.
Additional participants in this month’s Ingredient Challenge include:
The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author’s goal of barbecuing at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control, and two years later the streak is intact and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. In the process, No Excuses BBQ has become fairly popular and is listed as one of the top BBQ blogs on Alltop.com.
Rob Bergstrom of In To The Flames- ENTRY HERE
Rob launched Into The Flames in the summer of 2010 as a way to share his passion for cooking, eating, and exploring food.
Robyn Medlyn of Grillgrrrl – ENTRY HERE
Robyn Medlin is the “grill girl” behind grillgrrrl.com. Her focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. She encourages women to learn to grill as it a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen. This “grill girl” holds quarterly “Women’s Grilling Clinics” as a way to encourage women to not be intimated by the grill. As a McCormick’s flavor correspondent for their “This Week in Grilling Campaign”, Robyn shares fun, tropical video recipes documenting her grilling adventures from her backyard in Sunny, Hollywood, Florida.
Chris of Nibble Me This – ENTRY HERE
The Nibble Me This website was created to share Chris’ misadventures in live fire cooking. ”I have no culinary training….I’m just entertaining myself with fire and food”.