Sunday, February 27, 2011

Impromptu Cooking, Taking Advantage of Sales: Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

This is an example of one of my impromptu recipes. I was grocery shopping and there was a great sale on bone-in pork chops that I just HAD to buy. Usually, when I head off to the grocery store, I have my list in hand compiled of all the ingredients I need for my predetermined recipes that week. But when I came across these great looking chops, a protein I don't often work with, I figured I'd find some way to work it in. So, I searched around the web for recipes involving bone-in pork chops that I had the ingredients on hand for and this is the one I decided on.

I can't complain about the way it turned out, all considering. The pork chops were surprisingly tender and juicy, something my husband tells me both my mother and I have trouble with. The flavor imparted by the apples and onions to the chops was good but I wasn't a big fan of actually eating the apple-onion mixture itself. I added some radiatore pasta and peas to complete the meal.

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
From - Orig. published in Martha Stewart Living Dec 2009

6 bone-in pork chops (loin or shoulder), cut 3/4" thick
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large white onion, sliced
2 to 3 apples, cored and sliced (about 3 c.)
1 c. beer, white wine, cider, or chicken broth (I used broth because it's what I had.)

1. Trim the chops of excess fat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper on both sides. (I seasoned the first side, placed them in the pot, and then seasoned the second.) Heat a 14" cast-iron skillet (if you have a smaller one, you'll need to work in batches) over high heat, and then swirl in the olive oil. (I don't have a cast-iron skillet and my chops were HUGE so I used the Rachael Ray Oval Pasta Pot and still needed to work in batches.) Lay in the pork chops in a single layer and don't move them for a few minutes to assure a good golden sear forms. Turn and brown well on the second side for a total of about 10 minutes. Transfer the chops to a warm plate.

2. Swirl the butter into the pan. Add the onions and apples. Saute until onion slices are lightly caramelized and the apples have begun to soften, about 8 minutes. Stir in the beer or other liquid. Return chops to the pan.

3. Cook until the pork is tender, about 15 more minutes, depending on the size of the chops, turning halfway through and covering the chops with the apple mixture. If the apple mixture needs a little thickening, transfer the chops to the warm plate again and simmer the mixture on high for a few minutes to reduce. Serve the chops over rice or mashed potatoes with a large spoonful of the apple-onion mixture over the top.