Pork with apples: Use cider, applejack to create sweet and savory comfort dish



Pork chops paired with apples three ways -- apples, apple cider and applejack -- make a quick, comfort-food dinner. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)


Pork chops and apple sauce are a familiar flavor combination, perhaps from our childhoods.

If she had made it, she would have used her homemade applesauce, sourced from the tree outside the kitchen door.

Feeling nostalgic for that applesauce, I recently paired pork and apples for dinner. But instead of cooking the fruit down into applesauce, I did a quicker version: merely sauteed apples.

Pumping up their flavor and creating a sauce with cider seemed like a good idea. Into that, a little applejack, the American apple brandy, for a triple apple effect.

Pork Chops and Triple Apple Threat

Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 25 minutes Makes: 2 servings.

2 pork chops (on the bone), 6 to 8 ounces each
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil or bacon fat
1 small red onion, chopped
2 large tart apples, peeled, cored, sliced about 1/2-inch thick
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup applejack or apple brandy
3 tablespoons whipping cream

Season the chops with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Heat the fat in a skillet over medium-high heat; add the chops. Cook, turning once, to brown both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate; keep warm.

Add the onion; cook, sprinkled with a little salt, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the apples, coating them with the fat and onions; cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 3 minutes. They should be cooked through but retain their shape.

Stir in the apple cider and applejack; return chops to skillet. Lower heat to medium; cook at a simmer until chops are cooked through. Transfer chops and apples to dinner plates, leaving sauce in the skillet. Add cream to skillet; cook at a simmer until slightly reduced, 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chops and apples.

Nutrition: 575 calories, 35 grams fat, 11 grams saturated fat, 103 milligrams cholesterol, 43 grams carbohydrates, 24 grams protein, 670 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

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