By Cat, Nov 2007 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Last night, a couple friends took me to dinner at Bigfork’s Showthyme restaurant (in a lovely brick building my parents owned from 1946 – 1972), where I had the pork chop special, erved over garlic mashed potatoes and topped with an apple-flavored sauce, very much like this recipe. Showthyme used extra-thick-cut Iowa chops, but that really is too much meat for one person, so I would use the ¾” – 1” thick kind.
I do not recommend the use of national brands of pork. Commercial hogs are raised in pens and not allowed to roam. Their conditions are filthy and inhumane; consequently, the meat is filthy and highly contaminated with undesirable bacteria, viruses and parasites. Additionally, these hogs are fed a grain-based feed laced with antibiotics and GMO grains.
Instead, please seek out a local hog farmer who raises his hogs in pasture, and keeps them clean and healthy. Cook thoroughly, using a meat thermometer to gauge internal temperature of the meat:
- Chops, ribs, and chops to internal temperature of 145°F;
- Ground pork and sausage to internal temperature of 160°F.
Baked Pork Chops with Cider-Dijon Pan Sauce
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (1).
I highly recommend using freshly-pressed cider in this recipe. Here in Bigfork, we have an annual community cider press event (hosted by Essential Stuff Project, of which I am secretary), where people bring their apples and jugs, and join in the fun of pressing them. But you can also ‘press’ apples by grinding to pulp in your blender, then squeezing the pulp through sturdy cheesecloth.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 bone-in pork chops (about 1 lb, total), brined (optional)
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (skip the salt if you brine the chops, as the brine is salty)
- 1 Tbsp butter or lard
- 1 small red apple (MacIntosh or honeycrisp are my favs)
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- ⅓ tsp chopped fresh thyme
- ¼ cup fresh apple cider (not fermented)
- ¼ cup homemade chicken stock
- 1 – 2 tsp Dijon mustard, coarse-grained
- cast iron skillet
- baking sheet
- Prep: Brine the chops, if desired, for 12-24 hours. Rinse and drain.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
- Halve and core apple, then cut into small dice. Chop the shallot, enough to make 2 – 3 Tbsp.
- Season chops with salt and pepper (skip the salt if you brined the chops).
- Cook chops: Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Note: Alternately, you can use half olive oil and half butter/lard. Cook chops until nicely browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast until no longer pink near bone, about 8 minutes.
- Sauce: Meanwhile, lower heat under skillet to medium. Add apple, shallot, and thyme; cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 2 minutes. Add cider to deglaze, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan. Cook until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Add broth and Dijon mustard and continue to cook until further reduced, 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning.
- Serve sauce over chops, with garlic mashed potatoes.
- Fine Cooking recipe: finecooking.com/recipes/pork-chops-cider-dijon-pan-sauce.aspx