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APPLE-STUFFED PORK CHOPS WITH CIDER SAUCE

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Ingredients

  • FOR THE STUFFING:
  • 4 SLICES PUMPERNICKEL OR DARK RYE SANDWICH BREAD, CRUSTS REMOVED AND CUT INTO SMALL DICE
  • 2 TBSP UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 2 GRANNY SMITH APPLES, PEELED, CORED, AND CUT INTO 1/2 INCH DICE
  • 1 TBSP EXTRA-VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • 1/2 MEDIUM ONION, SMALL DICE RESERVE OTHER HALF FOR THE SAUCE
  • 10 DRIED APPLE RINGS, CUT INTO 1/4 INCH PIECES
  • 1 TBSP THINLY SLICED SAGE LEAVES, PLUS 2 WHOLE SPRIGS FOR THE SAUCE
  • 1/4 CUP UNFILTERED APPLE CIDER OR UNFILTERED, UNSWEETENED APPLE JUICE
  • FOR CHOPS:
  • 8 BONE IN CENTER CUT PORK CHOPS, AT LEAST 1 1/2 INCHES THICK
  • 4 TBSP EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  • 3 TBSP UNSALTED BUTTER
  • 1/2 MEDIUM ONION, SMALL DICE
  • 1 CELERY STALK, COARSELY CHOPPED
  • 1 SMALL CARROT, PEELED AND COARSELY CHOPPED
  • 2 TBSP APPLE BRANDY OPTIONAL
  • 2 CUPS UNFILTERED APPLE CIDER OR UNFILTERED, UNSWEETENED APPLE JUICE
  • 2 1/2 CUPS LOW-SODIUM CHICKEN BROTH
  • "3 TBSP CREME FRAICHE"

Details

Servings 8

Preparation

Step 1

INSTRUCTIONS FOR STUFFING:

1. HEAT THE OVEN TO 200 DEGREES AND ARRANGE A RACK IN THE MIDDLE. PLACE THE BREAD CUBES ON A BAKING SHEET AND PLACE IN THE OVEN TO DRY OUT, ABOUT 20 MINUTES. REMOVE FROM THE OVEN AND SET ASIDE.

2. RAISE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 375 DEGREE. HEAT 1 TBSP OF THE BUTTER IN A LARGE FRYING PAN OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT. WHEN IT FOAMS, ADD THE DICED APPLES AND LET THEM BROWN, STIRRING ONLY OCCASIONALLY. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND PLACE IN A MIXING BOWL.

3. REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM AND ADD THE OLIVE OIL AND REMAINING 1 TBSP BUTTER. WHEN THE BUTTER FOAMS, ADD THE ONIONS, A PINCH OF SALT, AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER AND COOK UNTIL THE ONIONS ARE SOFT AND TRANSLUCENT, ABOUT 6 MINUTES.

4. STIR IN THE COOKED APPLES, BREAD CUBES, DRIED APPLES, SLICE SAGE LEAVES, AND MINCED THYME AND COOK UNTIL HEATED THROUGH. STIR IN THE APPLE CIDER, SEASON WITH SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER, REMOVE FROM HEAT, AND SET ASIDE.

FOR THE CHOPS:

1. RINSE THE PORK CHOPS AND PAT THEM DRY WITH PAPER TOWELS. HOLDING A SHARP PARING KNIFE PARALLEL TO THE WORK SURFACE, CUT A 3 INCH WIDE POCKET INTO EACH PORK CHOP ALL THE WAY TO THE BONE. MOVE THE KNIFE IN A FANNING MOTION TO CREATE A LARGER POCKET, BEING CAREFUL NOT TO CUT THROUGH THE TOP OR BOTTOM OF THE PORK. REPEAT WITH THE OTHER PORK CHOPS. SEASON THE CHOPS WELL ON ALL SIDES AND INSIDE EACH POCKET WITH SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER. STUFF 1/8 OF THE STUFFING INTO EACH POCKET.

2. HEAT 1 TBSP OF THE OLIVE OIL AND 1 TBSP OF THE BUTTER IN A LARGE FRYING PAN OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT. WHEN THE BUTTER FOAMS, PLACE 3 PORK CHOPS IN THE PAN. SEAR THE CHOPS UNTIL THEY ARE NICELY BROWNED, THEN TURN THEM TO BROWN THE OTHER SIDE. WHEN THE CHOPS ARE BROWNED, REMOVE THEM FROM THE PAN TO A RIMMED BAKING SHEET OR BAKING DISH LARGE ENOUGH TO HOLD THEM ALL COMFORTABLY. DUMP OUT THE USED OIL THAT REMAINS IN THE PAN, BUT DO NOT WASH THE PAN. REPEAT WITH THE OTHER CHOPS.

3. WHEN ALL THE CHOPS ARE SEARED, PLACE THEM IN THE OVEN AND BAKE UNTIL THEY ARE FULLY COOKED AND A THERMOMETER INSERTED INTO THE CENTER REGISTERS 145 DEGREES, ABOUT 25 TO 30 MINUTES. MEANWHILE, RETURN THE PAN USED FOR BROWNING THE CHOPS TO MEDIUM HEAT. (DO NOT CLEAN THE PAN) ADD THE REMAINING 1 TBSP OLIVE OIL, ONION, CELERY, AND CARROT TO THE PAN. COOK UNTIL THE VEGETABLES ARE SOFTENED AND BROWN AROUND THE EDGES, ABOUT 5 MINUTES.

4. REMOVE THE PAN FROM HEAT, ADD THE APPLE BRANDY (IF USING, OTHERWISE, DO THIS WITH SOME OF THE APPLE CIDER), AND RETURN IT TO THE HEAT. (IF YOU WANT, CAREFULLY TILT THE PAN TO IGNITE THE BRANDY.) USE A WOODEN SPOON OR SPATULA TO SCRAPE UP ANY OF THE BROWNED BITS THAT HAVE ADHERED TO THE PAN. STIR IN THE APPLE CIDER AND BRING TO A SIMMER FOR ABOUT 8 MINUTES.

5. ADD THE CHICKEN BROTH AND HERB SPRIGS AND RETURN TO A SIMMER. COOK UNTIL THE SAUCE IS REDUCED TO 2 CUPS, ABOUT 12 MINUTES. STRAIN THE SAUCE THROUGH A FINE-MESH ST4RAINER AND RETURN IT TO THE PAN. WHISK IN THE CREME FRAICHE TO THICKEN THE SAUCE SLIGHTLY.

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