Chopped Challenge: Guava

Well, hello there! Long time, no see! I’ve been on hiatus as a result of job transition, holidays, moving, and more. But I have plenty of things to write and update, as well as a few blog goals for 2018. So here goes…

About three months ago I signed my foreseeable future away to the University of Washington, and so began a cascade of stressors including packing up the house in New Mexico, moving across country over the holidays, and plopping ourselves in Seattle, WA. We are still living out of boxes, but are starting to get settled and feeling a bit more functional as we find our way around our new neighborhood.

Naturally the first sign of normalcy meant it was time for a new “Chopped Challenge” (as Dan calls them). As we perused our local produce market, Dan was inspired by the guavas on sale. At the checkout stand he turned to me, with that classic sly grin and a handful of guavas and said, “Chopped challenge?”

Aaaaaand we’re back in business!

My repertoire for “islandy” recipes is sadly limited. I’m a relative novice to tropical fruits and flavors of equator-based nations. I can throw together a mango salsa for fish or some pineapple fried rice, but that’s typically where my Rolodex is tapped out. I think this is an excuse for more island vacations…Eh?

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Given my lack of knowledge of guava and its origins, I turned to the internet for inspiration. Most guava recipes lead me in a direction of sweets and desserts: guava cake, guava jelly, guava daiquiris (1984 called, they want their cocktails back), but very few options for an actual meal.

The few savory and main dish recipes I found focused on guava paste, which is typically used in Latin cuisine and can sometimes be found on cheese plates. There was very little to offer for savory cuisine using fresh guava fruit. So, true to my nature, I combined about 6 recipes with reckless abandon and hoped for the best. I was inspired by a recipe for BBQ guava chicken thighs and translated this to a guava-marinated pork chop, seared and then cooked through with a guava sauce on top. For a side dish, I tossed together a salad of quinoa, broccoli, bell pepper, and pineapple.

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The verdict? It was fresh, fruity, and vaguely reminiscent of the islands, which was a welcome change from the rainy Seattle winter outside. In hindsight, I would have used “red” guavas rather than “white” (for aesthetic reasons – note the unattractive brown color of the sauce). I would have added a dash of white wine vinegar, or something akin to it, to cut the sweetness and add a tangy twist.

Would I make it again? Sure! But next time I’ll have a rum punch in hand!

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Seared Pork Chops with Guava Sauce

*Recipe serves 2 hungry folks. In true “challenge” fashion, there’s a lot of winging it in this recipe (dashes of this, splashes of that). Taste as you go and let your taste buds guide you to victory!

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless pork chops
  • 3 ripe guavas (red or white), cut in quarters and seeds removed
  • 8 oz. can of diced pineapple
  • 1 t. low sodium soy sauce
  • Dash white wine vinegar
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Make the guava sauce: In a small sauce pan, cover quartered-and-seeded guava pieces with water – just enough to cover the them. Simmer over low-medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until soft. Reserving one Tablespoon of the liquid, strain the guava from the water and transfer to small blender (a Ninja cup works well). Combine with 1 t. soy sauce, dash of pineapple juice, splash of white wine vinegar, and a dash of cayenne pepper. Puree to smithereens 🙂
  2. Marinate the pork chops in half of the guava sauce for 30 minutes. Reserve the other half of the sauce and set aside.
  3. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and sear the pork chops on both sides. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 20 additional minutes (or until 160+ temperature is reached).
  4. When pork is done, remove from oven and plate. Warm the remaining guava sauce if it is has cooled and pour over the top of pork chops.
  5. Serve with a mix of quinoa, cooked broccoli, bell pepper, and pineapple (or whatever else you have in the fridge!)

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