25 October 2018

Pork Chops and Apples

Pork Chops and Apples - Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com

Pork Chops and Apples is a well-remembered dish from my childhood, but I make it differently. My mother browned the pork chops and made the sauce/gravy on the stove, then transferred everything to a big yellow oven-proof bowl that easily held 12 pork chops and lots of apples. 

Now I have the bowl, a vintage 1960s Pyrex 4-quart nesting mixing bowl. Though I rarely use it—somehow it seems more precious than other more delicate and valuable items that were my mother’s—I enjoy getting a glimpse of it now and then in the deep, high cupboard over the refrigerator.

Separated in age from my three (all older) siblings by a 6-, 9- and 10-year gap and having parents with their own stresses and strains, my early and middle childhood days were often quite chaotic. But whatever else went down on any given day, it all stopped for dinner. Food was what brought the family together.


Food was what brought 
the family together.

The cooking of older food writers she liked, such as Patience Gray, Elizabeth David and Julia Child, was inspired by their travels. But my mother never felt the need to travel. Her food took her anywhere she wanted to go. From the best of British and American cooking to the most complicated Chinese dishes, she was an inspired cook.

Had she been just an average cook, or a "good plain cook,” I wonder if her food would have had the same power to bring everyone together around that big table in the very middle of the kitchen. I doubt it. (Two essays that fit well with this post: Life Lesson in a Flame-Colored Pot and The Pork Chop Incident.)

So here it is: my stovetop Pork Chops and Apples. I had to make it up as I went along because my mother stopped making it once there were no longer six (and often more) at the dinner table, which was before I started writing things down as she cooked. They don’t taste like her pork chops, but they taste good!

This takes about 45 minutes from start to finish and can be made ahead (details in the directions below) for busy nights. Great with Perfect Mashed Potatoes and a vegetable or two.


Pork Chops and Apples - Comfort Food / www.delightfulrepast.com


Pork Chops and Apples

(Makes 3 servings)

The Apples

2 medium (about 6 ounces/170 grams each) Golden Delicious, Granny Smith or other good baking apples
2 tablespoons (1 ounce/28 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

The Pork Chops

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 5-ounce 3/4-inch-thick boneless loin pork chops (pastured pork)
3/8 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) brandy
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces/355 ml) lower sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon thyme

1 Don’t peel the apples. Quarter them and with a paring knife, cut out the core from each quarter. Slice each quarter into 3 slices.

2 In 12-inch skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar; stir in the apples. They should be sizzling. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until caramelizing a little. With slotted spoon, transfer apples to a plate.

3 Add the teaspoon of oil to the pan and swirl it around. Place the chops in the hot pan, sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper. Over medium to medium-high heat, cook for about 5 or 6 minutes until well browned. Turn, season with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 5 or 6 minutes until well browned. Transfer to a plate.

4 Add the butter to the skillet. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in brandy, then balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard, scraping up all the brown bits in the pan. Then whisk in broth, marjoram and thyme. Simmer and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes or so. Or longer—as long as it takes for the sauce to be nicely thickened and the flavors concentrated.

Note: This dish may be made ahead to this point and the pork chops, apples and sauce all refrigerated separately. Twenty minutes or so before serving, thoroughly heat up the sauce in the skillet. Add the pork chops and apples to the skillet, cover and simmer until heated through. 

5 Return chops and apples to pan, along with any liquid that collected on the plates. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer over very low heat, covered loosely, for about 10 minutes to warm them through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon .com and affiliated sites. 

Jean


57 comments:

Angie Schneider said...

Apple and pork are such a classic combo. This looks so good and packed full of flavours that I really love. Thanks for sharing, Jean.

Rue said...

Hi Jean :)

I have a bowl like that, but it's an enamel bowl from the 70s and truly ugly lol My mom used it to make something called "Bab's rice". My brother wanted it too, but I snatched it up before he could get it. My mom thinks we're nuts, but it's one of those rare things that remind me of my childhood dinners. She's never been one to save things.

I saved this recipe. It looks delicious!

xo,
rue

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thank you. It really is perfect for this time of year.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Rue, thank you so much. I hope you'll like it as much as we do. And thank you for sharing your "mom bowl" story!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Beautiful blend of personal histoire with food as emollient, Mme. Chef. I think you posted a couple of recipes today and only one had tangible culinary aspects. Made me think of the connections in my own family – who got the blue glass, etc. And why shouldn’t something as fundamental as food evoke such bonds and associations? Pip, pip and 5 cleavers!

Tony Grant said...

We all have our stresses and strains. Friends of ours, some thirty years ago, commissioned a furniture designer friend to make them a large dining table. Their theory was that if the whole family could get around the table for a meal once a day it would help relationships among their children and between themselves. They kept to that. I think it worked well for them. Marilyn and I didn't quite achieve that. We both have worked full time as teachers for most of our lives. With four children too, it was always a matter of surviving. Whatever needed doing was done. I think maybe all of us getting round a large table daily would have helped lessen tensions.We had no extended family living near to help out and support us either. However we are all close and love each other very much. So we did survive. Pork chops!!! Well, you can't beat that. My mouth is watering.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sully, my reply to you seems to have disappeared. Anyway … thank you. AND thank you for encouraging me to share a bit more of the "personal histoire." I thought of you when I hit "Publish" on the post.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, I'm sure you and Marilyn did a fine job of pulling the family together in other ways. For those who can manage it, though, I recommend the family dinner. I've always said, If we (family of origin) could do it, any family could!

Grace said...

Pork and fruit are always wonderful together, apples are classic. Maybe because I am Italian, or grew up in a less frantic time, dinner was always a family affair - every night. Sunday’s we ate in the formal dining room. Both my parents worked, so I started cooking at an early age since dinner was at 5:30 during the week, Sunday the main meal was at 3. Oddly enough the only “family heirlooms” I have are cooking utensils LOL

Pauline Wiles said...

Jean, this looks perfect for the time of year; I love main dishes which include fruit. I've read this carefully and am sure I can manage it. Looking forward to trying!

Richard Sheppard said...

Looks delicious Jean! I'd eat this in a heart beat. I'll have to make it sometime when my wife is away though since she hates pork chops. She doesn't know what she's missing. LOL.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Grace, thank you for sharing your family dinner story. My mother was always at home, but I started cooking with her when I was 4 or younger. I was the only one of the kids interested in cooking. Like you, I have lots of cooking "heirlooms." :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Pauline, that's wonderful! Yes, you can do this, I'm sure. Do let me know how it goes.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Richard. That's a great idea! She only needs to be out for about an hour! :D

ellen b. said...

I always appreciate good Pork recipes since I was raised Kosher and do not have good familiarity with cooking pork products. This looks so good!

Louca por porcelana said...

Your post is delightful,Jean!Love reading it and that recipe looks delicious!Hugs!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Ellen. I hope you'll like it. If you need any more details, just let me know.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Maristella! Hugs to you, too.

Cranberry Morning said...

That's such a great combination, Jean! I'll be gone over the weekend but plan to make this for dinner one night next week, in my ancient cast iron skillet! I can't wait! Thank you

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Judy, that's great! Thank you! Do let me know how it turns out for you.

Marisa Franca @ Allourway said...

Food and Meals bring back such warm memories. We practically lived in the kitchen. My mamma cooked and my papa read his Italian newspaper. I've never had fruit with our pork chops -- they sound wonderful and I'd love to capture a bit of your time at dinner. I'm looking forward to trying out your recipe. I'm sure it will be delicious.

Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch) said...

This is just a great post. I'm so glad you have that bowl and the memories. And this recipe sounds so similar to dishes I had as a kid. Thanks for sharing.

April J Harris said...

I so enjoyed reading this post, Jean. You know how much I love family food memories and family recipes! I have a few of my late Mom's pans and I love using them when I can, although I'm always a bit nervous about it. Your Mom's Pork Chops and Apples sounds delicious, and it's definitely the kind of recipe we love. Sharing. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope your week is going well. Happy Friday!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Marisa, that sounds wonderful. Made me think of when I would spend the night at one of my friend's houses--her parents were from Italy, and they seemed so much more "interesting" to 11-year-old me than my "ordinary," English-speaking family. They spoke English most of the time but would switch to Italian when they were excited or, I suspect, when they wanted to talk about something they didn't want their children to hear!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lea Ann. I don't often write anything that personal, but it was kind of fun!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you. AND for the shares--much appreciated. I love having some of the pots and pans my mother had even before I was born.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Nice memories, Jean! I still have two orange pyrex bowls and one orange covered casserole dish from my younger years as a bride. When I was growing up we had pork chops often. Actually, when we had pancakes, my mother made the pancakes and my father cut up the pork chops into little bites and fried them then added just a little water to make a kind of sauce. The pork bites were served over the pancakes with molasses and were they ever good! Alas, I don't eat pork any longer because it doesn't agree with me but yours do look good with those apple slices. Have a great weekend!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Sandi, thanks. I've never heard of cooking pork chops like that to go on top of pancakes! Sounds good!

Margie said...

Looks great, Jean. I like your mom's idea of traveling via international cuisine. I'd try anything once!

Thanks for the visit. My sweet tooth prefers the matcha desserts more than the regular matcha tea!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Margie. I'll try any plant-based thing once!

Miz Helen said...

What a great combination, this looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great weekend and come back soon!
Miz Helen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks so much, Miz Helen!

Cocoa and Lavender said...

Pork and apples is such a wonderful autumnal combination. My mother used to make it when I was younger, as well. Thanks for your recipe, as my mother never wrote hers down!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

My pleasure, David. I hope it stirs some fond memories for you.

April J Harris said...

Hi again, Jean! I just wanted to tell you that I’m featuring this post at the Hearth and Soul party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there! Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you so much! I am honored!

Kelly Lynns Sweets and Treats said...

Pork chops and apples are perfect together! This dinner looks perfect for those cozy Fall evenings :) XOXO

Gloria Baker said...

This looks really delicious pork and apples are amazinG!

csuhpat1 said...

That looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing it. #TriumphantTales

kateonthinice said...

My husband would love this dish so much #TriumphantTales

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kelly, thank you.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Gloria!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

csuhpat1, thanks. Even a guy having adventures needs a hardy dinner now and then! :-)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kate, thank you. Looking forward to visiting your blog when I get over this virus a bit!

Tracy Albiero said...

This looks amazing! I will have to make it. #triumphanttales

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Tracy. Do let me know how it turns out for you.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I can't say that family meals were ever shared much when I was growing up. There was never enough time to sit down and eat together. Still, we did sometimes have pork chops which my mother put in the oven sometime in the morning and took out whenever time allowed many hours later. They were truly terrible. Unlike yours, of course, and pork cooked with apples has to be a wonderful thing. Sadly, the only things I've inherited from my parents (apart from good looks, obviously) is an ancient bottle opener and an unopened bottle of whisky from the 2nd world war.

Tarahlynn said...

Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party see you next week!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Phil, I always love your comments. They're always either amusing, informative or fascinating--or a combination. They always paint a picture in my mind!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tarah, thanks so much. Looking forward to seeing what projects you're wrecking yourself with next! :D

Daydreamer Mum said...

Pork chops are one of my fave dinners ever !! Total comfort food . I am making pork chops for tea my tummy is rumbling so much for reading this !!#blogcrush

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Daydreamer Mum. I love comfort food!

Mrs Mummy Harris said...

ooo this sounds yummy! we had jack Daniels honey sauce over pork last week and honestly, it was divine!!
Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Lianne. That sounds good, too!

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Chicken soup! Hope you are better pronto...

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Sully!

Susan J Meyerott, M.S. said...

Well, Jean since pork chops and apples are a favorite in this household I thought I'd take a cursory look at your recipe and move on. Boy was I wrong! This looks delicious! I'm going to totally make it the way you do. I've never put brandy, balsamic vinegar or mustard in. I'll let you know how it goes after I make it.

Loved your story about growing up and sitting around the dinner table together despite the chaos of the day. So you're the baby of the family!

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