Monday, December 2, 2013

Roasted Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

The pork chops we ate when I was growing up were prepared one of two ways; either fried or baked. When fried they were served with pan gravy and when baked they were always accompanied by applesauce. This recipe is an updated version of the baked pork chops with applesauce I ate as a child. Sweet and tart fruits are the perfect complement to pork. You’ll find fruit stuffed inside and on top of chops, roasts and tenderloins in just about every cook’s repertoire.

Instead of simply baking the chops, I first pan sear them on top of the stove and then finish the cooking process in the oven. This makes the chops juicy inside with a beautifully caramelized exterior.

And instead of applesauce, I make a slightly altered version of the Food Network Kitchen’s Apple Chutney. You can make the chutney just before cooking the chops or up to a week ahead of time. Just be careful, if you make it too far in advance there may not be enough left over for this dish!

Roasted Pork Chops with Apple Chutney
Yield: 4 Servings     Preparation Time: 30 Minutes     Cooking Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes


• 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

• ½ Cup Red Currant Jam
• 5 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar

• 2 Teaspoons Fresh Ginger, minced

• ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

• 1 Teaspoon Madras Curry Powder
 (see Tips and Trending below)
• 1 Cinnamon Stick
• ¼ Cup Red Onion, cut in large dice

• 3 Sauce Apples (McIntosh, Jonathan or Gala), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½” dice
• ⅓ Cup Dried Cranberries, chopped
• 4 (1-inch thick) Bone-In Pork Rib Chops, rinsed and patted dry
• Freshly Ground Black Pepper

• Canola Oil

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter together with the jam in a small sauté pan over low heat. Stir in the vinegar, ginger, salt, curry powder and onion then nestle the cinnamon stick into the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered.

Step 2. Add the apples and cranberries to the pan, stirring to coat with the liquid. Cover and simmer for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the chutney to cool to room temperature in the pan then remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

Step 3. Preheat oven 400ºF. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper.

Step 4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Lay the chops in the pan and sear until browned on 1 side, about 3 minutes. Then sear the fat edge of the chops by holding them with tongs against the bottom of the pan for 1 minute. Don’t crowd the pan - sear the chops in batches, setting the first ones aside on a platter while searing the second batch.

Step 5. Turn the chops over with ½ tablespoon of butter placed under each chop and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Roast the chops until an instant-read thermometer registers 145ºF – check at about 7 minutes.  Remove chops to serving plates and cover loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes. Deglaze the skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, scraping up the cooked on bits in the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle the content of the skillet over the chops and serve with a spoonful of chutney.

Tips and Trending

~ You can substitute thick cut boneless loin chops for the bone-in rib chops. Loin chops will be more tender, but the trade-off is the loss of flavor from the proximity to the bone.

~ Madras curry powder is slightly hotter than other typical curry powders and gets its reddish color from the peppers that provide that heat. You can substitute your favorite yellow curry powder with a dash of cayenne.

~ Use any cooking apple that is more sweet than tart so avoid Granny Smiths, Pippins and Braeburns but don’t go as sweet as Delicious, Honeycrisp or Fuji.

~ Chutney is best served at room temperature or gently warmed.

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