Balsamic Pork Chops with Apple

My most popular Connecticut cooking class of 2011 (so far) has been one called “Five Ingredient Dishes”.  One of the dishes in this class is my take on a recipe I discovered for Orange-Balsamic Chicken.   It is simple, fast, and absolutely delicious.  In a recent section of the class, someone asked me what substitutions could be made for the chicken.  My first thought was pork.  But as I rolled that around in my head, I added, “but I bet if you swapped out apples for the oranges it would be fabulous!”    Ever since Peter Brady uttered his famous “pork chooooooops and apple schaaaaauce” line at the Brady dinner table, the two ingredients have been forever linked in my mind.  Well, that idea was stuck in my head until the next time I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients for my newly conceived dish. 

The result?  Something so good I might even like it better than the chicken dish!  Everyone loved it, including my kids.  My older daughter actually asked if I’d make it again soon, which for any parent is the equivalent of being knighted. 

I used boneless pork chops, which are lean and cook relatively quickly.  For the apples, I used Gala, because that is what I tend to keep in my fridge.  They were small, so I used two, but one large-sized apple would also work just as well (although may take a bit longer to soften).  For a fresh herb, I added rosemary.  You could certainly substitute parsley for a little color if you don’t care for the strong, woodsy flavor of the rosemary (although I think the rosemary makes it amazing). 

This is a great example of taking the concept for one recipe, and making it into something completely new, completely different, and maybe even better than the original!  So go ahead, take a few chances and play with your food!  You might be surprised with the delicious results!

Balsamic Pork Chops with Apple

Serves 4

4 boneless pork chops (about 1.5 lbs total)

1 large or 2 small apples, sliced into wedges

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

1 pat of unsalted buter

olive oil/salt+pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.

In a large, oven-proof skillet (do not use Teflon coated), heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot but not smoking.

Brown the chops on each side until a nice golden brown.  Add apples to the pan and transfer into the preheated oven and cook for about 7 minutes, or until pork is cooked through and only a hint of pink remains.

Remove pan from oven and return to stovetop.  Remove pork to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.  Turn heat to medium high and add balsamic vinegar to pan to ‘deglaze” (a term used to mean ‘scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan using a liquid and heat”).  Add rosemary and cook for a couple minutes until apples are tender.  Add pat of butter and stir until melted.  Pour apples and balsamic sauce over pork and serve immediately.

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