Caramel Apple Pork Chops
We’re at it again, pushing the boundaries on how many savory food items we can serve with fruit, though this particular combination isn't that much of a stretch. Pineapple on pizza might be an offense to those that are pizza purists, but pineapple rings on baked ham is a fancy holiday meal. Pork has an affinity for sweet accompaniments, and pork and apple go way, way back. This combo entered pop culture in 1971 with the "pork chops and applesauce" gag on The Brady Bunch; kids, go ask your parents about it. They were put together for a recipe in Good Housekeeping in 1893, and were even written about in ancient Rome, in De Re Coquinaria (On Cookery) in 300 A.D. See, there go the Romans again being ahead of the curve!
It’s clear that pork and apples are simply meant to be, and who are we to try and keep them apart? We chose four center cut, bone-in pork chops about an inch thick. While pork might cook a little quicker if you use a boneless chop, we wanted to use bone-in chops specifically because they are a little juicier. Pork chops by nature are a leaner cut of meat, so the meat can dry out fairly easily. The bone can help guard against drying, and even Even with the bone in, ours pork chops were done in under ten minutes, so this is hardly a time-consuming meal to cook. You may want to have the oven ready to keep them warm--set to 200°F--after they are done grilling, in order to make the caramel apple sauce right afterwards and not try to multi-task. The hardest thing about this recipe is peeling the apples, so it's a great recipe to pull out on a hectic week night, and as an extra-bonus, you can use the forlorn, wrinkled apples in the bottom of your crisper. Make sure to use the Apple Pie Spice to help balance your apples with Korintje cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger root, and cardamom. The spicy, woodsy blend of these spices complement the sweetness of the pork, apples, and raisins by grounding the flavors and keep it from feeling like your pork chops were fished out of a sundae bar!
This is a recipe that’s fast, made with relatively inexpensive ingredients (that you might already have most of), and produces a meal that definitely feels a lot fancier and harder to make than it actually is. If you’re waiting for an invitation to try pork and apples, it’s been ready for you for at least 1,700 years!
- Preheat oven to 200°F. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Place chops on preheated grill. Cook pork chops about 3 minutes per side, or until done. Place chops in baking dish and cover, and place in 200F oven. If you do not have a grill, then cook in an ovenproof pan on the stove, about 3 minutes per side, before removing to the preheated oven.
- In a skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons butter. Add apples, brown sugar, raisins, and Apple Pie Spice. Cover and cook until apples are soft, stirring frequently.
- When apples are soft, remove them from pan and reduce sauce until slightly thickened. Add apples back to sauce.
- Remove pork chops from oven. Spoon caramel apple mixture over pork chops. Serve!