Yield: 24 servings.
9 cups Syrah wine
3 cups light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. star anise pods
3 vanilla beans
zest of 3 oranges
1½ tsp. red pepper flakes
3 cups frozen California strawberries
2 Tbsp cornstarch
24 bone-in loin pork chops
Salt and black pepper
½ cup olive oil
24 cups fresh California strawberries, stemmed and halved
½ cup chopped fresh mint
24 cups Couscous Pilaf (instructions follow)
To make Syrah Glaze: In nonreactive saucepan, combine wine, sugar, star anise, vanilla,
orange zest, pepper flakes and frozen strawberries. Simmer over low heat until reduced
to 4½ cups. Strain into clean saucepan. Mix cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water; whisk into
wine mixture. Simmer just until thickened. [ Yield: 4½ cups ]
For each serving, season 1 pork chop with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides in 1 tsp
oil; finish cooking in 400°F oven. Gently heat 1 cup strawberries in 3 Tbsp. Syrah Glaze.
Mound 1 cup Couscous Pilaf on plate; sprinkle with 1 tsp. mint. Plate pork chop next to
couscous; spoon strawberries and glaze over and around pork chop.
For Couscous Pilaf: In rondo or large sauté pan, sauté 8 cups couscous in 8 tsp. olive oil. until golden; remove from heat. Heat 12 cups chicken stock to a simmer with 4 tsp. saffron threads and 4 tsp salt; pour over couscous. Cover and let sit about 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. With a fork, fluff couscous and gently mix in 4 cups currants, 4 cups diced dried apricots, 4 cups toasted slivered almonds and 4 cups chopped pistachios.
PHOTO: California Strawberry Commission