I really am not ready for summer to end – but I was a little consoled with this dish, Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops. Ya gotta love a recipe that tastes divine, looks great and is perfect for company but quick & easy enough to pull off on any old weeknight for family dinner! And it’s even better when it’s a dinner that’s so good you’ll want to lick your plate clean!
This is another recipe, along with the Perfect Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes that I posted yesterday that my Son’s Girlfriend, Tweety and I made together. (The stovetop directions are given, too, for the mashed potatoes in that recipe in case you don’t have an Instant Pot.) Add a salad or a simple side, like my Simple, Steamed Broccoli and you have a restaurant quality meal that’s easier than you’d guess.
About Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops:
I think you’ll love these Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops as much as we did! Especially if you like a tender pork chop and apples with a creamy, dreamy sauce that’s made in one skillet.
The spicing of Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops leans a bit towards the German side of the flavor spectrum. There’s just a hint of allspice and clove (they add an almost haunting “just what is this?” flavor) and a heavier hit of black pepper in that lovely sauce. The flavors in that sauce all but scream pork, and they scream “Fall” even louder.
And let’s not forget those apples! Apples and pork just go together and these apples are cooked to perfection, tender with just a bit of a resistance. They add such a freshness to the dish. Serve them off to the side if you want or toss them right in the pan to be coated with that lovely sauce. They’re insanely good.
Making Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops:
When I make any pork chop, if time allows, I brine. Brining just means to soak in a solution of salt and water and a few flavorings, for as long as you can. Within limits, of course! If you’ve ever noticed how pork chops seem more tender, juicy and flavorful at a restaurant, you can be pretty sure they brine. Same with chicken. And you can do the same thing at home. As little as 30 minutes really helps, overnight is even better. If you don’t have all the ingredients for the brine, don’t sweat it. It will still be fine even if you just brine in a salt & water solution.
The recipe itself for Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops is pretty straightforward and adapted from a New York Times recipe. The apples are cooked first and removed from the pan, then the pork chops are dipped in a seasoned flour mixture and cooked in the same pan. Remove them and make pan sauce with either hard or regular apple cider (apple juice in a pinch) & chicken broth. Finish with a bit of sour cream or other dairy. Then put the chops and apples right back into that creamy, delicious sauce.
I loved this recipe made with the hard cider. You don’t really taste the sauce and think “apple” you just taste creamy deliciousness. Hard cider isn’t as sweet as regular old apple cider or apple juice so I’d suggest if you substitute, just add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar to compensate. It doesn’t take much vinegar to brighten up the sweeter apple cider, so be cautious. Vinegar is listed as one of my Top Secret Super Stealth Arsenal of Ingredients and I use it a lot when a recipe needs to be brightened up a bit.
Saving Money on Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops:
I’m usually very careful about how I shop for my food. I watch the ads and plan my meal around what’ son sale. And I generally let the sale prices “tell me” what to make rather than decide to make a recipe and buy the ingredients. I didn’t do that this time and paid a higher price.
I shopped at a different store than usual and as I wanted to use a bone in chop, compared them closely. What was interesting was the thicker 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch bone in chops were less per pound ($3.49) than the thinner bone in chops ($3.98) I used. Normally, I’d let that per pound price drive my purchase (more bang for your buck, right) but I wasn’t going to pay the much higher total price since they weren’t on sale, anyway. I don’t think I’ve EVER paid so much for a pork chop before! It pays to watch the sales,
Apples, up North here, are pretty cheap – I just about died at the price in Georgia when I’ve visited my daughter. Generally, we can pick up bags of apples at a reasonable price, and again, I let the sales price determine what apples I buy. I chose regular old Granny Smiths because they’re a firmer apple, tasty when cooked and because they’re one of the most common (and cheapest) apples. Store apples in a loosely closed paper bag in a cool spot and away from potatoes and onions.
Just a quick note on the rest of the ingredients. Hard cider: it pays to buy any of your hooch on sale. Most liquor stores have email alerts so sign up for them. Sour cream is an item to look for around holiday sales. Keep it clean, keep it lidded even if it is sitting out the counter, and store it upside down in the fridge. Chicken broth, homemade, can be made from scraps and really is better than store bought and doesn’t have a lot of additives. I know because I’ve been using the boxed broths or Better than Buillion more recently. If you use boxed, stock up before Thanksgiving and compare your prices at different stores. Grocery store sales prices are generally better than Aldi or Costco.
Creamy Apple & Cider Pork Chops
For the Brine:
- 2 cups cold water (or 1/2 water and 1/2 apple juice or cider)
- 3 tablespoons kosher or 2 tablespoons of table salt
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 6 black peppercorns
- 4 allspice berries
- 2 cloves
In a nonaluminum mixing bowl, combine brine ingredients and stir until salt and sugar is dissolved. Kosher salt is best, but table salt will work if brining for only up to four hours. Avoid tables salt with iodine if brining longer. Add pork chops to a Ziploc bag, fill with the brine and seal. Place in bowl in the refrigerator. Brine from 30 minutes to overnight.
For the Pork Chops & Apples:
- 4 bone-in pork chops, about 1/2″ thick
- 2 large tart, cooking apples, Granny Smiths preferred
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided, possibly a little more
- 1/2 cup flour, for dusting
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- pinch of ground allspice
- salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
- ½ cup hard cider (substitute apple cider or juice plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
- 1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 tablespoons sour cream, cream or creme fraiche
- 1 tablespoon finely cut chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Peel, quarter and core apples, then cut each apple into 12 wedges. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a wide skillet and raise heat to medium-high. Add apple wedges in one layer and brown gently on one side, about 2 minutes. Brown on the other side and cook for 2 minutes more, or until apples are cooked through but still firm. Remove apples from pan and keep warm.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to pan and swirl to melt. On a shallow plate, mix the flour with allspice, clove, salt, and pepper. Dredge the pork chops with flour, shaking off excess and place in pan. Cook gently for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, turning once Add a little more butter if needed when pork chops are turned. Adjust heat if necessary to keep pork from cooking too quickly. Remove chops and keep warm on a platter or in a low oven. Discard any excess butter in the skillet.
Add ½ cup hard cider to pan, raise heat to high and cook down to a syrup. Add vinegar, mustard and chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add the cornstarch & water mixture and stir with a wire whisk as the sauce thickens. Turm off heat and stir in sour cream, cream or crème fraîche. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Spoon sauce over the chops, then spoon the apples around the platter. Sprinkle with chives and parsley.