Fairway had huge center cut pork chops on sale for $3.13 per pound! Noticed them while waiting for the two links of sausage I was getting for another recipe. They weren’t on the grocery list, but I quickly grabbed two and created an idea of a meal in my head. I wanted them to be braised in apple cider and the side dishes would be roasted yams & apples and garlic sauteed spinach.
At home I searched for a recipe for braising the chops, I have a few on my computer but none were appealing so I turned to the Internet. The first recipe to pop up was from Food.com and called for apple butter, an ingredient I didn’t have in my pantry. If I had had apple butter I would have been eating it on my breakfast toast, not saving it for a pork chop braise.
I read many other recipes from the Google search and realized that so many call for the braising stage to last 10-15 minutes! Sorry but in my head 10-15 minutes is a simmer not a true long slow braise! The good news for the first recipe was that it was braised in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. So I went back to it and decided to tweak it a bit. In place of the apple butter I used stone ground mustard.
I also added frozen pearl onions–I sauteed the onions in butter until lightly caramelized then tossed them in the apple cider vinegar called for in the recipe and added them to the braise for the last 20 minutes. The pork chops, onions, and the reduced sauce were delicious! The pork was falling off the bone and the sauce had that unctuous mouthfeel only a long slow braise can bring.
Since the oven would be running @300º (I bumped it to 325º) I didn’t think the roasted yams & apples I planned would be the way I like it, crispy edges with soft centers. So, I found a “casserole” of yams and apples. Instinctively, I felt the recipe called for too much brown sugar. But I proceeded as I have vowed to try new recipes this week. I had purchased Garnet Yams with white flesh, so instantly the dish was going to be very white except for the brown sugar, spices and butter. Sadly I was correct, it’s way too much sugar. It tasted more like a dessert than a side dish! Thankfully, the garlic sauteed Spinach was the perfect bit of bitter to ensure a contrast to all the sweet food on the plate!
Lesson: Go with my gut–maybe more mustard next time and definitely lose the yam and apple “casserole” recipe!
Eat Well…Be Well!
P.S. Happy New Year wishing all a great 2014!