Pork with apples yields sweet, savory comfort

Chicago TribuneJanuary 14, 2014 

FOOD FOODFAST-PORKCHOPS TB

Pork chops paired with apples three ways – apples, apple cider and applejack – make a quick, comfort-food dinner.

BILL HOGAN — MCT

Pork chops and applesauce are a familiar flavor combination, perhaps from our childhoods. I don’t know how I came to like the savory pork and naturally sweet apples together, because I don’t think my mom ever made that for us. Somehow, I picked it up, nevertheless.

If she had made it, she would have used her homemade applesauce, sourced from the tree outside the kitchen door. Well, until those apples got too wormy to use. Then she turned to the small orchard on Grandma’s farm.

Feeling nostalgic for that applesauce, if not that false memory, I paired pork and apples for dinner recently. But instead of cooking the fruit down into applesauce, I did a quicker version, merely sauteed apples. Pumping up their flavor and creating a sauce with cider seemed like a good idea. Into that, a little applejack, the American apple brandy, for a triple apple effect. Now that I think of it, a double pork effect would work here. You could crisp up some bacon to start then …

Tip: Serve with butternut or acorn squash puree, topped with a little butter, and a winter greens salad.

Pork Chops and Triple Apple Threat

2 pork chops (on the bone), 6 to 8 ounces each

1/2 teaspoon salt, about

Freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat

1 small red onion, chopped

2 large, tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced about 1/2-inch thick

3/4 cup apple cider

1/4 cup applejack or apple brandy

3 tablespoons whipping cream

SEASON pork chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Heat the fat in a skillet over medium-high heat; add chops. Cook, turning once, to brown both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate; keep warm.

ADD onion; cook, sprinkled with a little salt, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in apples, coating them with fat and onions; cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes. They should be cooked through but retain their shape.

STIR in apple cider and applejack; return chops to skillet. Lower heat to medium; cook at a simmer until chops are cooked through. Transfer chops and apples to dinner plates, leaving sauce in skillet. Add cream to skillet; cook at a simmer until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Pour sauce over the chops and apples.

Nutrition information per serving: 575 calories, 35 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 103 mg cholesterol, 43 g carbohydrates, 24 g protein, 670 mg sodium, 3 g fiber Yield: 2 servings.

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