Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cider Sauce

I’m not the type of person who frequents chain restaurants regularly – not because the food is subpar or any such thing, but because despite corporate standards the one thing chains lack is consistency. I can go to the same chain (and location) twice in one week, and have two different experiences. I don’t normally review chains for that very reason (i.e. my experience at the Olive Garden closest to me don’t even remotely compare to your experience at yours). Keeping all this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at my local Bob Evans restaurant last week. They’ve got a new seasonal menu, and one of the dishes on it is a pair of pork chops glazed with apple cider, with stuffing in between, a sweet potato, and a veggie on the side. It was fan-friggin-tastic. So much so, that I sought to replicate it at home. I think I like this version as much (if not more than) as theirs. Look out for pork loin to be on sale, and this makes it a very economical, and a perfect for fall meal. Be sure not to overcook your pork – new guidelines state that 145 is now a safe internal temperature for pork chops, which means they should still be a little pink inside. And get thick chops if at all possible – it really does make a difference. To save time, we served it with Stove Top pork stuffing and steamable green beans.

Pan-Seared Pork Chop with Cider Sauce

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cider Sauce
recipe from KitchenDaily

Pork chops are inexpensive to buy and quick to cook. Plus, the meat is lean, which is terrific for health, but not so great for taste. Preparing a quick pan sauce turns something basic into a restaurant-quality dish. Searing the chops stovetop and deglazing the pan with cider vinegar adds a tangy punch that brightens the flavor of the meat.

4 boneless pork chops, at least 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 shallots, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Thyme leaves for garnish

Gather these tools: cutting board, chef’s knife, wet measuring cups, measuring spoons, large sauté pan, tongs, wooden spoon, whisk
Season the pork chops on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the pan. Place the pork chops in the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and loosely tent with foil to keep warm.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan, then add the shallots and thyme sprigs. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes, until the shallots have softened and caramelized. Add the cider vinegar and reduce until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Then add the apple cider and chicken stock and simmer until the sauce is reduced by half.

Discard the thyme sprigs. Return the pork chops to the pan, along with any juices that have been released. Heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pork chops on plates or a platter. Whisk in the butter and season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately.

Farm Fresh and Local Produce 8/12/2009

It’s been almost a year of my life since I got sick. Six months of hospital beds and feeling like everything is a struggle. Six months of learning all over again to performing the most basic of tasks (walking, grooming, cooking, writing, etc). I’m only now beginning to feel like my old self. Unfortunately, things that were super-important a year ago have been an afterthought for 2011.

Going through my picture archives, I’ve realized that I’ve missed opportunities to talk about events I’ve attended, pictures I’ve taken, meals I’ve eaten. I’m almost back at 100% so I’m hoping to spend the last couple of months of 2011 getting caught up. So, expect some old posts – even from years ago, they’re still fresh in my memories.

I’m starting with an older set of farmers market pictures – it’s funny how things don’t change much from year to year. And that’s a good thing, I think.

Sungold Tomatoes from Honeyrun Farms

Butternut Squash

Stanley Plums

Apples

Heirloom Tomatoes

Sweet Corn

Bell Peppers