Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apple Cider Pork Chops

It's September in Ohio.  And you know what that means, don't you?  Apple season!  Get. Excited. 

Another kitchen mishap gave birth to this scrumptious fall meal and incredible sauce.  My original plan was to make pork chops topped with garlic cream cheese and onions.  After removing the onions from the skillet, the brown bits began to burn, so I tossed my nearby glass of apple cider right in.  Once it hit the pan, it dawned on me:  apple cider glaze.  I let the juice reduce and took it one step further.  I mixed in my garlic cream cheese and a classic was born. 

This dish is sweet and packed with autumn flavor.  The pork chops are moist and juicy, the onions slightly sweet with a perfect crunch and the sauce is creamy and delightful.  Serve them with potatoes and something green for the ultimate impressive dinner. 

Apple Cider Pork Chops

4 pork chops
4 oz. garlic cream cheese at room temperature, recipe follows
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped into thin petals
1 ½ - 2 C. dark and cloudy Apple Cider
Chives or Parsley, to garnish

Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Cover and set them in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.  Bring to room temperature before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 350.

*If you'd rather not use your oven in addition to the stove, follow the instructions at the bottom of this recipe.

Heat a medium skillet with 2 T. olive oil over high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the pork chops and sear for 3-4 minutes per side.  When the pork has a delicious brown edge, remove it and place in an oven safe dish covered with aluminum foil.  Set in the oven to continue cooking for about 10 minutes.  

In the skillet, add 1 T. more olive oil and add the onions.  Cook them over medium until they have caramelized.  They do not need to be dark, just caramel colored.  Remove them from the skillet and set aside. 

Add 1 C. of apple cider to the pan to deglaze, pulling up all the brown bits with your wooden spoon.  Boil the apple cider until it reduces by one half.  Add the cream cheese mixture and whisk it into the apple cider.  It will be clumpy at first.  DON’T WORRY!  Just keep whisking until a smooth and glossy sauce appears.  It will work!  Add more apple cider if the sauce becomes too thick. 

To plate, place the cooked pork chop down and top with caramelized onions.  Drizzle the sauce on top and around the pork chop.  Garnish with something green, for looks. I used green onions as garnish and I served these pork chops with Horseradish Potatoes Au Gratin.  Recipe coming soon!

*To complete this recipe without using the oven, when you remove the pork chops from the skillet, allow them to rest on a plate and cover them with foil.  After you've whisked your sauce into submission, nestle the pork chops into the sauce and allow them to cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the pork chops are thoroughly cooked.  You can even add the onions back into the pan, if you prefer.  

Garlic Cream Cheese

3 garlic cloves
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

Thoroughly combine in a small bowl and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to marry. 

**This can also be used as a dip for vegetables or a spread for toasted bread.  Add some thyme or dill for extra flavor and freshness!

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