Peggy Lampman's Wednesday dinnerFeed: Apple butter spiced pork chops
Hmmmm. No sear? I love the rich brown color a sear lends to food and the pan remnants from the bits and juices is the groundwork for delectable sauces. The critics said the apple butter caramalizes into a crunchy crust. I'll prepare a chop without the sear and one with the sear and see and taste for myself!
Bottom line: Don't bother giving the pork chops a sear. The apple butter covers up the sear anyway and, truthfully, the flavor profile was not compromised without the sear. I did not make a sauce so had no need for pan drippings. I did not get the caramelization as one reviewer noted, maybe baking them at a higher temperature would have caramelized the topping. They were, nonetheless, delicious. The apple butter lent a sweet apple flavor to the chops, a perfect meal for welcoming Autumn to our dinner plate. The only thing I added to this simple recipe was the addition of some minced rosemary and sprigs before serving. This added color and additional flavor.
I prefer thick (1 1/4-inch) pork chops. Like most meat I prefer my pork chops on the bone, but the ones I used were boneless and quite good. You might also consider an apple cider brine for adding juice and flavor to the chops; I didn't have the time. I'm thinking a garnish of chopped, toasted pecans would add another pleasing texture to the dish. This would be perfect served with some sautÃ©ed chard and spaetzle, which are German egg noodles that I particularly enjoy at this time of the year.
When it comes to buying apple butter, the choices are far flung. American Spoon, the pride of Petosky, Michigan, makes a divine apple butter. I'm sure we'll be seeing other locally produced apple butters at the Farmers Market, and every grocery in town stocks apple butter in the jams and jelly aisle. These chops would be delicious with a side of buttery chard and spaetzle, German egg noodles which are so good at this time of the year.
Yield: 4 chops Cost: apx. $9.50 Active Time: 5 minutes Bake Time: apx. 25 minutes
4 boneless or bone-in pork chops (1 1/4-inch thick) 1/2 cup apple butter, plus additional for passing 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary plus 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350Ëš. 2. Season both sides of pork chops with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place pork on a lightly oiled sheet pan or in a shallow casserole large enough to accommodate the chops. 4. In a small bowl mix apple butter and garlic. Evenly spread and cover both sides of pork with apple-butter mixture. 5. Bake on middle rack for 25-35 minutes, 155Ëš on an instant-read thermometer, depending on thickness of chop. Let chops rest 5 minutes before serving. Do not overcook the chops; they will continue to cook while resting. Garnish with minced and fresh rosemary. Serve with extra apple butter on the side.