As fun as vacation was. it is always nice to be back home. It also means it’s back to the kitchen for some cooking, which I did for the first time in a week last night. Anyone who is my age remembers the Brady Bunch episode where Peter talked about pork chops and applesauce. They seem like a perfect pairing and since I had picked up some early season apples and some pork chops yesterday when shopping, it made for the perfect dinner last night.
Sautéed Pork Chops with Brandy-Apricot Sauce
4 bone-in rib pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped medium
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels then season them well with salt and pepper. Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the pork chops on the first side, about 3 minutes.
Flip the chops over and reduce the heat to medium. Continue to cook the chops until the center of the chops away from the bone registers 135 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Transfer the chops to a clean plate and tent with foil, allowing the pork chops to rest until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees before serving, about 5 to 10 minutes.
While the pork chops rest, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and return the skillet to medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the shallot and cook until it is softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bourbon and the apricots, scraping up any browned bits still in the pan. Add the chicken broth and the thyme and simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 8 minutes. Stir in any accumulated pork juices from the plate the pork has been resting on and the red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the pork chops before serving.
The pork was cooked perfectly and this pan sauce was great. I really like the flavor you get from the apricots and bourbon and the vinegar gives it just that hint of bite and acid. it’s a very simple meal that you can make on a weekend or a weeknight with little effort at all.
Now for the applesauce. Everyone has their own version of the applesauce thhey make, often passed down through families. Applesauce itself is pretty basic to make and all I did was follow America’s Test Kitchen recipe for a very simple sauce.
4 pounds apples (about 8 to 12 apples), peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 cup water, plus extra if needed
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra if needed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine the apples, water, sugar and salt in a large Dutch oven. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to break down, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Mash the cooked apples with a potato masher or against the side of the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. Season with extra sugar or add more water to adjust the consistency to your own liking. Add the cinnamon to the sauce and mix well. Serve warm or cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
You can make the applesauce as chunky or smooth as you like it or even run it through a food mill instead of mashing it if you have a food mill. We all like the cinnamon in the applesauce, but you could just as easily leave it out if you prefer just the great apple flavor on its own.I also made some plain white rice and xorn on the cob to round out the meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I do have some things planned for this week that I didn’t get to before I left on vacation, such as the lemon icebox pie, the ciabatta bread and a few other recipes. Keep checking back to see what is next. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!