Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pork Chops with Apples in a Port Wine Sauce

A lot of times when I cook the recipe drives what I make but occasionally the ingredients will make me go search for a recipe. On a recent shopping trip I found some gorgeous pork chops that were crying out to be purchased so I was happy to oblige. When I got home I did some research and found the recipe that follows. It spoke to me for a couple of reasons: (1) it was relatively quick which is key when trying to cook and make sure the two pea pods don't kill each other; (2) the ingrdients sounded rich and flavorful.

A couple of key things I found in putting this together. If possible buy and use the chops on the same day. Try and get the chops as close to room temperature as you can while safely handling the pork. I ended up having to freeze the chops and had some issues with temperature control of the meat near the bone. Though the recipe calls for 3/4" think chops I used much larger ones and just adjusted the pan time by a bit to accomodate the thickness. My chops were about an 1 1/2 thick so I upped the cook time by a minute on the first side and then played it by ear once I had flipped the chop over. This is one of those instances a meat thermometer is super handy. I used a large skillet - one where the onion had enough room to brown nicely and then chops were not crowded. I did use the bullion which is listed in the recipe as optional - used a low sodium brand so that I was adding a ton of salt.

We loved these and will definitely add them to the collection. I served them with brown rice and edemame.

1-2 pork chops per person, at least 3/4 inch thick
1 large apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I used a granny smith but would be good with a red delicious)
• salt and pepper
• 1 large onion, sliced thinly
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/3 cup port wine (I used Osbourne’s) 
• 1 packet chicken bullion (optional)
• 1/2 cup water
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• olive oil and a little butter

Sprinkle fresh pepper and about half of the thyme on one side of pork chop 

Preheat pan over medium heat.

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into hot skillet and add onions. Cook onions for 4-6 minutes, stirring frequently until they soften and brown slightly. Turn heat down if onions start to burn. Once onions are cooked take them out of the skillet put in bowl and set aside.

Put skillet back on heat, add a dash more olive oil, a 1/2 tablespoon of butter and
place your pork chops, spiced side down into hot skillet. Cook 3 minutes then season other side with salt to taste, pepper and additional thyme and place that side down for another 3 minutes or more, depending on thickness (see notes above). Chops are done when they have just lost their pinkish color in the middle. Remove chops to heated plates and allow to rest. They will continue to cook a bit once out of the skillet so watch them carefully.

Add apple and a 1/4 tablespoon butter to skillet and let brown, stirring frequently, cooking for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and let cook ONE minute only, just for flavor - you do not wish to brown or burn the garlic.

Add port wine carefully to skillet, scrape bottom to remove brown bits. Add onions back to skillet and cook for two more minutes.

Add bullion paste, and water. Stir and let sauce reduce by a half. Add one remaining butter to remaining sauce. Mix well, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Pour mixture over your pork chops.

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