Sunday, October 15, 2006

Braised Pork Chops w/ Apples

*Just Braise has moved. Please visit me at!*

There are few things that complement pork chops as well as apples. Pork chops with applesauce is standard fare. And after years of this mundane preparation, I had essentially sworn off pork chops. It was not until I met D, with his penchant for pork that I began to eat “the other white meat” and truly appreciate it.

Over the years we have worked on our now standard pork chop recipe. Believe it or not, I clamor for it more often that D does these days. No sauce is used, but fresh apples-- All the better while they are in season and abundant. This fall, the recipe has truly reached perfection, braised in cider and rum, the result is sweet, moist meat with a sauce that deserves sopping.

Pork chops are easy to ruin. Overcooking creates dry, gristly meat and is all too common. To braise a pork chop then, is to eradicate the fear of overcooking while providing a savory sauce to accompany your meat.

This is a recipe I discussed previously. When D first made these chops, they were devoured in seconds. Again, D was in charge of the meat and I was happy sous chef to the operation. And again, I dare you not to devour these in seconds.

I think to truly make this dish perfect would be to serve it on top a bed of polenta. This way, all juices can be appreciated and none lost. This dish is a fabulous seasonal dish, so make it post haste.

Serving Size= 2. Active time= about 10 minutes. Braise time= 15 minutes.
* ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
* olive oil
* 2 thick cut pork chops on the bone
* ½ teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon cumin powder
* 1 teaspoon coriander powder
* salt/ pepper
* 2 good cooking apples (Granny Smith, Empire, Rome, Courtland), sliced into 16 wedges
* ¾ cup dark rum
* ¼ cup spiced apple cider

1) Preheat oven to 350F.
2) In a deep oven-safe pan (or dutch oven) over high heat, warm butter and olive oil (to barely coat bottom of pan).
3) While pan is warming, prepare the pork chops: Wash and fully dry the meat. Coat evenly on both sides with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Carefully place meat in pan and sear both sides until thoroughly browned; about 4 minutes each side. This seals in the pork chop juices and allows you to properly continue the braising. Do not be afraid to really brown the chops in this step.
4) Remove the pork chops from pan and reduce heat to medium. Deglaze by adding rum and scraping bits that have stuck to the pan up and into the rum. Add cider and apples. Braise the apple wedges in the juices until they are limp and have absorbed some juice; about 4 minutes.
5) Return pork chops to pan and move apples around the meat to cover sides and top (some may remain under the chops).
6) Cover pan and place in oven for 10-15 minutes until pork chops are juicy and succulent and liquid has reduced and holds a sweet, thick aroma. Serve with the apples crowing the meat and the sauce all around. Delicious.

Head on over to Sweetnick's for Tuesday's ARF round up!

Check out other Fall Feast-ival items over at WellFed's FitFare!

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