I work normal working hours, and my husband works shift work, so our schedules differ pretty significantly. In the interest of eating well, and not having cereal for supper except in the rare dire dinner emergency (like two straight weeks of -30 weather keeping us from the store), I have enacted a cooking rule. My rule is basically that if one of us is working, and the other has the day off, the day off person is in charge of making dinner. Now, if we are both working or neither of us is working, I am generally still in charge, but I do feel that if I am working all day and someone else isn't, it wouldn't kill them to see that I get to come home to a hot meal on the table. The thing is that my husband is actually a very good cook, it's just that he only chooses to use his talent a couple times a month. It's all very go hard or go home. This week he decided to make me one of his favourite recipes: Apple Pork Chops. It is based on the recipe "Old-School Pork Chops with Apple and Sage" from the Cook with Jamie cookbook (since he will only make food endorsed by Jamie Oliver), but with changes based on what we had stocked in the pantry. Many people are put off by pork chops, thinking that they have to be cooked until they are all dried out to be safe, but with meat being as it is today, you can actually cook them less, and discover that pork chops can be juicy and delicious!
Old-School Pork Chops with Apple:
Four 9-ounce pork chops
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 good eating apples (e.g. McIntosh or Cox), cored and each cut into 8 wedges
knob of butter (a couple of tablespoons)
sprinkling of cinnamon
thyme leaves (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Lay the pork chops out on a board and, using a sharp knife, make 1-inch-deep cuts all along the fatty side of them. This is the key to these delicious chops as it helps to render the fat out and will also make the skin crispy. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper.
Pour the olive oil into a hot frying pan. Carefully place your chops in it and cook them for 2 to 3 minutes each side on high until golden brown. If you need to, open out the little pieces of fat along the edge so they don't stick together.
When the chops are nearly done, lift them out of the pan and put them in an oiled baking pan. Add the apple wedges and a knob of butter to the frying pan and fry until lightly golden. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Lay 4 wedges of apple on top of each pork chop. If I have some thyme from the garden or in my freezer, I will sprinkle some leaves on each one.
Put the baking pan into the oven for 4 to 6 minutes until everything is golden and melted.
Eating pork dressed with such sweet flavors is amazing. I find that more and more people are shying away from pork, but I am in the opposite boat, where the more ways I learn to cook it and keep it moist and a bit fatty, the more I appreciate it as a meat. I am hoping to see pork regain some popularity this year as people go back to more budget friendly comfort foods. I like to pair this dish with a side that is a bit tangy, like Jamie's french green bean salad, which I hope to post the next time we make it.