First off, thanks to everyone for bearing with me over the last week’s absence. I’d been planning on an event for work that culminated last week. It went well and now that its over, back to cooking and blogging (and reading my severely backlogged blog roll!).
With the cool air (and endless rain), I’ve been craving hearty, fall food…things with apples. On top of that, our CSA has been giving us red cabbages…something I know very little about.
I started looking for recipes and came across one for sweet and sour cabbage with apples. There was a comment that noted it goes well with pork…which led me to some pork chop and apple recipes….one of which noted that the pork is a good match for polenta. Which led me to herb and parmesean polenta. I was thoroughly excited with my plans, so imagine my surprise when JiT responded with total disinterest. Apparently, when he’s had pork chops and apples in the past, the pork has been dry and the apples overly sweet. It took some serious convincing, but eventually he decided he’d give it a try. And then he loved it!
I ended up creating a hybrid from several different pork recipes I’d seen and ended up with a spice-braised pork chop with rum-glazed apples and sweet onions. The key is to NOT overcook the pork. Once it goes into the oven, make sure you check it with a meat thermometer until it just comes up to temperature and then pull it out. It should still be tender and juicy.
The polenta is simple….cornmeal whisked into boiling water, then the heat is turned to low…add a few handfuls of cheese (parmesean and cheddar ar great), some milk and herbs (italian seasonings, sage, etc). For the sweet and sour cabbage, I used a recipe from Simply Recipes…but added some peeled, chopped apples.
The whole meal works very well together, tastes perfect for fall…and made a believer out of JiT….so much so that he requested I make it again while we were in Rockford visiting my parents this weekend. They liked it too.
Spice-braised pork chops with rum-glazed apples and onions
1/4 apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sage
4 boneless pork chops
2 Tbs olive oil
2 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 Tbs spiced rum
1/4 apple cider (or water)
Combine first 8 ingredients in a disposable plastic bag. Add pork chops and brine for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally to coat chops.
Preheat oven to 350 F, then heat the 2 Tbs of olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add pork chops and brown for at least 5 minutes per side — don’t be afraid to give them a nice braise on each side. Transfer the chops to a baking sheet and place in the oven to finish cooking…cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees F.
Meanwhile, add the apples and onions to the pan where the pork was cooked. Add the rum, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the apple cider and continue cooking over low heat until the apples and onions are tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).
Serve the pork chops topped with the apple and onion mixture and all of the juices.