Ok, so for years (and I do means years...lots of years) I've wanted to make some version of pork and apples. I've never had it and it ALWAYS looks like the quintessential fall pairing. I mean who doesn't go completely nuts over pictures of pork loin cooked in apple cider with cooked apples on the side? I mean can you just imagine the aroma?
Well, I finally picked a recipe and just made it happen! I looked through my Ruth Reichl cookbooks and found two recipes: Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder with Brown Butter Buttermilk Potatoes OR Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce. Now honestly, I'd rather have the Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder, but I just didn't have time for a project like that, SO...I decided to make the Brown Butter Buttermilk Potatoes and serve it with Ruth's Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce. Let me just say right now...after tasting the pork chops, I must make the Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder sometime this fall!
This recipe is based on a French dish from the Normandy region. A Normandy sauce is made using cream, stock, butter, and Calvados and is typically served over veal. In this recipe, Ruth uses shallot; apple cider vinegar; apple cider; fresh sage; chicken stock; and cream and the sauce cooks in stages for almost 40 minutes. It is a rather complex sauce that is creamy with a hint of sweetness and a tang that I'm guessing comes from the vinegar. It is literally so good I want to eat it on everything!
I can't tell you this is a simple recipe. It does take awhile. Once the glorious sauce is complete, you simply saute pork chops in butter, then saute the sliced apples, then add the remaining stock and meat juices back to the sauce and cook the sauce down until it has a thick consistency like a gravy.
Now, the pork chops would be just fine served as is with the cooked apples, but I feel compelled to tell you that you really should make the Brown Butter Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, or just plain buttermilk mashed potatoes, or any mashed potatoes because....THE CIDER CREAM SAUCE IS SO GOOD AND YOU WILL WANT IT ON EVERYTHING!
Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Cider Cream Sauce
Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
3 tablespoons butter
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1/4 tsp. dried
1-1/4 cups chicken stock
2/3 cups heavy cream
6 (3/4" thick) pork loin chops (2-1/2 pounds total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 Golden Delicious or Gala apples, peeled, cored, and each cut into 8 wedges or slices
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add apple cider, vinegar, and sage, bring to a boil, and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes.
Add 1 cup stock and boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 12 minutes. Add cream and boil until reduced to about 1 cup, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat pork dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add chops in 2 batches and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chops to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Pour off fat from skillet. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, then add apples, and cook over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until golden and just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and gently toss with brown sugar.
Add remaining 1/4 cup stock to skillet and deglaze by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, for 1 minute. Stir deglazing liquid into sauce, along with any meat juices accumulated on platter and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer apples to platter with pork and pour sauce over top.