The Food Issue
From duck a l’orange to wine and steak to good ole’ pork chops and applesauce, there are innumerable ways for fruit and meat to mingle deliciously. In that spirit, I have a generalized recipe for cooking meat with fruit that can be used with most any kind of meat and most any kind of fruit.
The technique works for duck and pork, apples and oranges, although I employ it the most with stone fruits like peaches, apricots, cherries, and plums. No flavor of meat I’ve attempted with the technique has disappointed.
I’ll present the recipe in terms of beef and plums, but feel free to substitute other meats and fruits, and play around with seasonings.
Cut meat into one- to two-inch chunks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge in breadcrumbs or Japanese panko flakes. Fry slowly in butter, turning as necessary so that all sides develop a light brown crisp. When the brown starts to darken, add the peeled cloves of a head of garlic.
Resist the temptation to bail on the recipe and just start eating the fried, breaded meat. Instead, add pitted plums, either whole or chopped, and roughly twice the amount as meat by weight, to the sizzling, savory pan. The fruit can be frozen, dried, canned, or fresh. (If using dried, use less by weight.) After letting the fruit cook for a spell, add enough stock (veggie or chicken) to cover the whole business, and half a cup of sherry, Madeira, or white wine. Bake with the lid on at 300 degrees until the meat is spoon tender—the tougher the cut, the longer this will take.
Check your meat every 30 minutes or so, adding more stock or wine as necessary to keep it at least half covered. When it’s almost done, adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Don’t add any more liquid, and allow the jus that remains in the baking dish to reduce to about an inch. Your fruity meat is ready to serve.