Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cider-Braised Pork Chops

This is a recipe that was born out of an early-morning misunderstanding. I was trying to plan out the day's menu, half-asleep, and my coffeeless, groggy wife muttered something about "cider glazed pork chops". Bereft of coffee myself, I thought she said "cider braised". It's a lot more common to glaze pork chops, not braise them... but braising is one of my favorite cooking techniques, and both cider and apples are in peak form in Ohio right now.

I composed this recipe in my head while showering. The end result was terrific. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Cider-Braised Pork Chops

4 thick boneless pork chops
1 cup fresh cider
1 cup chicken stock
2 T butter
4 small Rome apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop. In a large, high-sided sautee pan, brown each pork chop over high heat. Place the pork chops on a plate and cover loosely with foil. Remove the pan from heat; add butter to the still-hot pan and add the apples when the butter foams. Return the pan to medium heat on the stove and brown the apples, 5-6 minutes. Return the pork chops to the pan; add the cider and chicken stock in equal measure until the liquid comes halfway up the sides of the pork chops. Add red wine and thyme. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover for 30 minutes or until pork chops are fork-tender.

Remove pork chops and apples from the pan. Bring liquid to a rapid boil until it reduces by half. To serve, garnish pork chops with reserved apples and thyme leaves, and pour braising liquid over the chops as a sauce.

Serves 4.

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