Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pork Chops with Spiced Apples

Last night I tried a recipe from my new Tyler Florence cookbook in the dinner with friends chapter- in our house it's always dinner with friends. I did take pictures this week, but be forewarned presentation is not my thing. With 4 kids, I just need to get it to the table! A nice presentation will be my goal in another 20 years or so.

Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hr 0 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings

Pork Chops: 1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sea salt
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprigs
4 double-cut bone-in loin pork chops, 1 pound each
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil

Spiced Apples and Raisins:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch dry mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl combine the water, brown sugar, sea salt, apple juice concentrate, peppercorns, and thyme. Give it a good stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Transfer the mixture to an extra-large re-seal able plastic bag. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, seal up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not brine longer than that or the meat will break down too much and get mushy.
Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count drizzle of olive oil and get it hot. Lay 2 pork chops in the pan (most likely only 2 of these massive pork chops will fit comfortably) and brown 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a large baking pan; brown the remaining 2 chops and add them to the others in the pan. Put the baking pan in the oven and roast the chops for 30 minutes. The pork is done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature reads 140 to 145 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer.
While the chops cook, melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 8 minutes to give them some color. Toss in the raisins and add the apple juice, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and dry mustard; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon to wake up the flavor and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples break down and soften. Spoon the spiced apples over the pork chops.

I didn't follow the directions exactly (I usually never do) so here are the changes I made. I used 6 boneless pork loin sirloin chops which were on sale this week. I made the brine as suggested (except dried thyme instead of fresh), but I don't know what kind of bag would hold all of that- over a gallon of liquid. So I put the chops in a bowl, filled the bowl with as much of the brine as I could, and put that into the fridge. Looking back in it now, I think I forgot to sprinkle them with salt and pepper before frying them, oops! For the apple juice concentrate, I used what was left in the can from the brine. I think it was a bit short, but close enough. I didn't have any raisins or cardamom so I left both of those out. The apples were really delicious! My daughter thought they tasted just like apple pie. The pork was a bit over cooked I think, as it was ready before the corn pudding, my timing was a bit off. I would probably double the apples & sauce next time.

It was suggested to serve with Corn Pudding, so I made that too.

Corn Pudding
2 ears fresh corn
2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
sea salt and black pepper
3 eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the 2 ears of corn, in the husks, in the oven, directly on the center rack. Roast the corn for 30 minutes, until soft. Cool slightly so you don't burn your hands and then remove the husks. Cut the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife and set the loose corn aside. Leave the over on.

In a large pot over low heat, combine the milk, cream, and butter. Once the butter has melted, turn up the heat slightly and bring the mixture to just under a boil. Pour in the cornmeal in a slow steady stream, whisking at the same time. Cook and whisk constantly until the cornmeal is blended in and the mixture is smooth and thick; it should look like porridge. Take the pot off the stove and fold in the corn, chives, salt & pepper. Mix in the egg yokes, one at a time, to make it more like a batter. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (use a hand blender if you have one) until they hold stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the corn pudding to lighten it. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8X8 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. When it's done, the corn pudding will look puffed and golden brown, like a souffle.

I didn't have any corn on the cob (although with the thought of fresh summer corn, it makes my mouth water!), so I thawed 3 cups of frozen corn in the microwave. I used 1% milk and light cream. No fresh chives, so I used dried ones instead. I had cornmeal made locally at Gray's Mill (one of the oldest mills in the country I think) with good old RI corn, and eggs from ... us! I cooked the corn pudding with the convection oven setting because I wanted to be done faster, it took maybe 20-25 minutes.

I also cooked some of the bread sticks I had left over from the Christmas party. I had frozen them uncooked, had too many for the party, so the left over ones have stayed in a bag in the freezer, how easy! This recipe I got from I used the Parmesan cheese filling.

Pastry Twists
Ingredients1/2 pkg. Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Sheets (1 sheet)
1 egg
1 tbsp. water
Assorted Fillings


THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix egg and water.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 14" x 10" rectangle. Cut in half lengthwise. Brush both pastry halves with egg mixture. Top 1 rectangle with Filling (see below). Place remaining rectangle over filling-topped rectangle, egg-side down. Roll gently with rolling pin to seal.

CUT crosswise into 28 (1/2") strips. Twist strips. Place 2" apart on greased baking sheet, pressing down ends. Brush with egg mixture. Bake 10 min. or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 28 twists.

TIP: Assorted Fillings:Parmesan Cheese: Mix 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed.Choco-Berry: Spread 2 tbsp. seedless raspberry jam and sprinkle with 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate pieces.Cinnamon-Sugar: Mix 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon.

All in all it was another success! 2 of the kids (and I think my husband) liked the apples the best, one liked the corn pudding, and one liked pork. As I mentioned, my timing was a bit off. I think the next time I would make the corn pudding and have that in the oven first before I begin to cook the pork. The apples cooked in the exact time as the pork though, so if that was all I was making, it would have been perfect! I was surprised that the kids liked the corn pudding. My aunt makes one that is sweet, and I thought they would be disappointed with this, but they really liked it.

This will be my entry for Tyler Florence Fridays.


Natashya said...

Sounds like a great meal! I have never tried a corn pudding before.. and I am with you on missing sweet summer corn, sigh.

Reeni♥ said...

What a delicious dinner! The corn pudding sounds really great, I am going to have to give that a try.

Debinhawaii said...

The whole dinner sound incredible. I love pork with apples and the corn pudding looks delicious.

The TFF round up post is up now.



Megan said...

Wow - it sounds like a feast in your house! I love corn pudding, so I'd like to try that next time.

karen said...

that sounds like a fabulous dinner. i've never made pork chops before, i'm just not that big on pork, but this sounds like a good recipe to start out with.