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Cooking the Perfect Pork Chop

Saturday lunch is a tradition at our family farm, where I spend most weekends. Parents, grandparents, siblings, even out-of-town friends join the feast around our kitchen table, with happy dogs underfoot, waiting for tasty meat scraps.

I never cook the same thing twice, which doubles the pressure to decide new dishes but also doubles the fun. Last week, I threw together juicy, cider-glazed pork chops with fresh apple cider from our local farmers’ market and apple balsamic vinegar. This twist on the traditional apple and pork pairing was so simple, and produced such a luscious agrodolce flavor, that I had to share this secret of effortless cooking.

Cider-glazed Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions 

Serves 4, 20 – 30 minutes total

Ingredients:

4 Pork chops 

3 medium red onions (¼ inch slices)

Apple cider (2 cups)

Apple vinegar (4 Tbsp)

Pantry:

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Step 1: Brown pork chops

Heat olive oil in a stainless steel pan on medium heat until oil is hot but not smoking. Place the pork chops in the pan, and brown on one side for about five minutes, then flip.  Shake pan occasionally to prevent meat from sticking. Once pork is golden brown on each side, and juices run clear, remove from heat.

Step 2: Caramelize onions

Without cleaning the pan, add 1½ cups of apple cider and 2 tablespoons of apple vinegar, with a few cracks of pepper and a pinch or two of seasalt. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the onions. Stir intermittently as juices reduce and onions caramelize. Gradually reduce heat as sauce bubbles and onions become translucent. Remove onions from pan when they start to stick.

Step 3: Finish chops & deglaze pan

Deglaze the pan once more by adding the remaining ½ cup of cider and tablespoon of apple vinegar over medium-high heat. Add back the pork and let the sauce boil down while the chops warm fully and take on some of the caramelized onion and apple flavors. Serve hot, with the caramelized onions and sides such as roasted potatoes with rosemary or delicata squash.

Notes

In absence of apple balsamic vinegar, use regular balsamic vinegar. In absence of red onions, use white onions or shallots. 

Find out what I’m cooking and eating on Twitter: @KathrynAndersen

Photos by Charlie Andersen