Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Maple-Cider Pork Chops with Apples

I'm not sure why, but the Honor Roll Student in me regards a dinner guest as a chance to do extra credit-level work. When Sean decided to invite our friend Andi to dinner, I decided it was the perfect time to make this ideal-for-fall dish I spotted while searching for recipes using cider and maple syrup. 

Food and Wine's Maple-Cider pork chops with apple compote are delicious, but definitely time-consuming, so allot some time to tackle this recipe. Believe me, it's worth it.

First things first, make the marinade about 2 hours before you plan to cook the chops. It's a mixture of cider, maple syrup, light brown sugar, bourbon, bitters (screw the suggestion for Woodland Bitters...who has time to order ingredients like bark and make their own bitters?!), thyme and garlic. Marinate the chops for 2 hours in the fridge.

When it was time to start cooking, I made the glaze, a reduction of cider, maple syrup, bitters and salt and pepper. I set that aside for later. This is the point when your house starts to smell incredible.

But you best believe your house will smell straight-up better than Yankee Candles when you start making the apple compote. In a saucepan, bring apple cider, dark brown sugar, bourbon, 1 tablespoon of butter, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of bitters, 1 cinnamon stick and diced apples to a boil.

Bring the apples to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let them cook on low while you make the pork chop magic happen. Ideally, they'll get soft, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, salt and pepper your chops and then cook your pork chops in vegetable oil on high heat, browning on both sides before turning the heat down to cook lower and slower. Add the glaze...I ultimately ended up adding a lot and letting it bubble up and caramelize; it was delicious this way. 

When the whole thing is done, plate the pork chops with the compote on top and prepare to taste autumn!

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