Pork Chops & Apples
When it comes to comfort food, one of my go-to meals is the pork chops and apple recipe from Dirty Food.
There is no real definitive answer to when the pairing of pork chops and apples came to fruition (pun totally intended), but it seems that the old apple came upon the pork chop one day somewhere in Spain before making its way on to the tables of boarding houses throughout the UK and US around the end of the 19th century. For many boarding house owners, apples along with cheaper pork cuts were an economical way to serve a crowd.
I think like most kids who grew up in the 1980’s, pork chops and applesauce were a staple in my household. The combination of sweet and salty make pork and apples an iconic food combination. When done right, a good pork chop doesn’t take much to be impressive, it can be bone-in or boneless and frankly, it shouldn’t take more than a small dash of seasoning. Maybe a pinch of salt and pepper.
For this recipe, I find that you can skip the oven completely if you stick to one-inch thick boneless pork chops. If you do throw them in the oven, they may come out dry. And I wouldn’t go thinner than one-inch for this pork chop recipe because the pork will DEFINITELY end up dry. Any thicker, go ahead and throw the pork chops in the oven.
The beauty of this recipe is that if you sear the pork for five minutes per side, you will have the most perfectly cooked chops. (A little pink in the middle, but not much). This whole dish is very quick and easy to prepare. Under thirty minutes, tops.
The apples that go with this dish are a little bit of a homage to the Stouffers Escalloped Apples that were always in the freezer of my house when I was a kid (my dad wasn't much of a cook). When I invented this recipe, I also wanted to give it more of a savory profile with the addition of soy sauce and garlic. The small touch of ginger to the apple spices bring the flavors together and gives the apples and the pork chops a touch more complexity. (And frankly, this preparation of apples would make an amazing pie filling if you also add a teaspoon of Chinese five-spice and baked it in a lard crust.)
This dish is best served with biscuits and a salad.
Pork Chops & Baked Apple
Makes 4 pork chops
4 medium apples, peeled, cored and cubed
¾ cup of water (175 ml)
2/3 cup of brown sugar (175 ml)
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon of soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ teaspoon of ground ginger (or an inch of minced fresh ginger if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons of butter or so for frying
4 boneless pork chops, at least an inch thick
Greased casserole or baking dish
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the apples, water, brown sugar, cinnamon, soy sauce, ginger, garlic. Stir with a wooden spoon and cook covered, for about 15 to twenty minutes, or until the apples are soft.
Meanwhile, prepare the baking dish.
Heat the butter up in a large frying pan or skillet over a medium heat and braise the pork chops, browning each side for five minutes. If your chops are an inch to an inch and a half, they are probably done. Cut one in half or use a thermometer to make sure the pork is cooked to between 145 and 160 Fahrenheit.
If chops are thicker, or not fully cooked, pour the apples into the greased casserole dish and arrange the pork chops on top. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the meat is tender. Let rest for three minutes and serve immediately.