Pork Chops with Cider Pan Sauce

Pork Chops with Cider Pan Sauce

After talking about it for years, Shawn and I finally signed up for a farmshare/CSA type thing-y. Yup – in November. Not exactly prime harvest time here in upstate New York, but I’m determined to make it work. I figure as packed as my cabinets are, as long as I have a steady stream of fresh produce I won’t have any excuse not to cook a decent dinner.

Then, my first delivery came. And let’s just say it wasn’t exactly the easy-to-throw-together staples that I was expecting. Daikon? Turnips? Mustard Greens?!  I started by focusing on the familiar: apples, apple cider, garlic… those ingredients seemed to be calling for pork chops.

Pork Chops with Cider Pan Sauce

I started by brining my chops in apple cider. This is one of my absolute favorite ways to cook pork – it the brine infuses them with a subtle apple flavor and makes them incredibly moist and tender. I pretty much refuse to eat pork chops that haven’t been brined. Then I cooked them in a cast iron skillet and finished them off with a cider and cream sauce inspired by one I had at a Dairy Council event last weekend.

On the side, I served stuffing* with onion, celery, and diced apple and I sautéed the mustard greens in a little olive oil and loads of garlic. The the pork and the stuffing were earth and sweet, the bright, bitter greens served as a palate cleaner and really tied the dish together. Without them, the flavors might have been too muddled.  Mustard greens aren’t exactly the easier thing to find at the grocery store, but Swiss chard or even spinach would make a great substitute.

(No, it wasn’t stuffed into anything. And no, I won’t call it dressing. Stuffing 4 Life!)

Pork Chops with Cider Pan Sauce

Pork Chops with Cider Pan Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 3 cups apple cider, divided
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 fresh thyme springs, divided
  • cracked black pepper
  • 2 pork chops, about ½ pound each (or one large pork chop cut in half crosswise)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
Preparation
  1. In a saucepan set over medium heat, combine 2 cups apple cider, salt, brown sugar, garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, and cracked black pepper (about 1 teaspoon). Bring to a simmer and allow salt and sugar to dissolve. Let cool completely. Place to pork chops in a shallow container with a lid. Pour the brine over top. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or up to 24 hours.
  2. When ready to cook: Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry. Heat a heavy pan over high heat. When hot, add the oil. When the oil is sizzling, add the pork chops (don’t let them touch in the pan) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the bottom is nicely browned, then flip and cook for another 5 minutes or until center is no longer pink and internal temperature of at least 150. Transfer the chops to a 200-degree oven to keep warm.
  3. Pour off any fat and return pan to the stove. Melt the butter and sauté the shallot until softened, 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of cider and 4 thyme springs. Bring to a simmer and let reduce by half. Remove thyme stems. Stir in cream. Serve pork chops with the pan sauce.

 

 

Comments

  1. Looks delicious! I need to try this

  2. littleredkitchen says:

    I refuse to calling it dressing too. I’m from the north, it will always be stuffing no matter how it is prepared! I’ve been apart of a CSA for years, I love it! Hopefully your winter share will start showing some signs of squash and potatoes, things you make more use out of!

    • Lauren @ HealthyDelish says:

      hmmm… maybe it’s a regional thing, but Shawn (also a New Yorker) calls it “dressing” and it annoys the heck out of me! I got word that we’re getting spaghetti squash and Brussels sprouts this week. Definitely a little more my style. ;)

  3. Hi Lauren,
    I know my husband and son would love this dish. I was wondering what brand of cider you use?

    • Lauren @ HealthyDelish says:

      I used a local brand that was included in our CSA delivery. I’m sure any brand would work, but look for one without added sugar.

  4. kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts says:

    Lauren,
    I’ve been feeding my family from the CSA farm share since 2006, and while it does require a shift in your cooking/menu planning I wouldn’t change a thing. This looks delicious, and how awesome to get cider in your farm share!
    Thanks!

  5. I made this for dinner tonight, but with roasted mixed veggies….they were sooooo gooood! Always looking for good pork chop recipes, verdict is this one’s a keeper!

  6. Mrs. Gamgee says:

    Hi! I found this recipe a few months ago via Pinterest, and it has become a family favourite. I confess, I have never been one to combine fruit and meat (pork + apple sauce = yuck… in my book), but this is REALLY good. I like the sweet in the background, and I do often bump up the garlic to two or three cloves to suit our family’s tastes. I usually serve it with sweet potatoes (either roasted or mashed) and a green veg. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  7. I have several pork chops from my CSA that I’ve been meaning to prepare – and pork chops are one of the driest, least flavorful cuts of pork so I never know what to do with them! I think this cider brine could be my answer!

  8. What gorgeous pictures! My husband makes a wonderful apple cider vinegar brine for pork chops. They are his speciality. I have to admit, I have never been a fan of pork chops until I had them brined (isthat a word?) in apple cider vinegar. They were so tender and delicious, I was hooked.

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