Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pork Chops With Apples and Onions (Hudson Valley Style)

**Sorry about the "off" color of some of the photos. The memory card in my camera was full and I had to use a camera that I'm not as familiar with to take quite a few of the photos.**

We l-o-v-e pork. Yup. We love it in practically all of it's incarnations. Unfortunately, no matter what even the newest studies say, for some reason it continues to have a less than stellar reputation. But, contrary to what some believe, the pork industry's now famous tag-line "pork... it's the other white meat" is actually true. Of course, there are pork products/cuts that are higher in fat, but purchased and prepared with care and attention to detail, pork can truly be a lean, healthy and delicious alternative to chicken or turkey.

I've been making a chicken dish for years that has a deliciously sweet and savory cooked apple and onion topping, sometimes referred to as "Hudson Valley Style".  I looked the term up some time ago and what it means is something that's cooked with apples and onions. Go figure!

No matter what you call it, it's DE-licious. And frankly, I can't think of a better meal to warm the tummy, on these cooler early Fall nights. I've also included the recipes/instructions for the Sour Cream Smashed Potatoes and *Fresh Green Beans cooked in Milk and Butter, that I served with the chops.

Pork Chops With Apples and Onions

  • 4-6 Bone-In Center Cut Rib Chops
  • 2-3 Lg Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Lg Yellow Onion
  • 1/4 Cup Applejack Brandy or Apple Cider
  • Chicken Stock or Water
  • "Better Than Bullion" Stock Base
  • 4-6 Tbls Butter
  • Pork Seasoning (**recipe below)
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

**My homemade pork seasoning consists of Kosher Salt, Onion Powder, Sage and a just a little bit of Cinnamon.

About 45 minutes before cooking time, I take the chops out of the fridge, season them liberally with my homemade pork seasoning and a bit of freshly ground Black Pepper. It's important to let refrigerated meat come to room temperature before cooking it, in order to keep it tender and juicy. This also gives any seasonings you're using, a little time to absorb into the meat and give it some depth of flavor.

The Hubbers grilled the chops for me on this particular night, but they can also be broiled, baked or pan fried, with the same end result. Just don't overcook them. The old days of cooking pork until it's like shoe leather are long gone. Pork products today are processed under modern, sanitary conditions and are subject to strict USDA standards for health and safety. Medium well pork is perfectly acceptable.

Cut the apples and onions into 1/4" slices, trying to keep them relatively equal in thickness so they'll cook more evenly. I don't peel my apples because I like both the flavor and texture they add to the dish, but I'll leave that call up to you.

Place 2 to 3 Tbls of butter into a large frying pan over medium heat, until it's melted and just beginning to sizzle a little.

Add in the apples and onions and stir them well to coat with the butter. Continue to cook, over medium to medium high heat until the onions start to get translucent and the apples begin to soften.

This is seriously one of the best things invented in the culinary world! It's so much better than bullion cubes or powders. (just as the name infers - lol) It has less sodium, blends much more easily into sauces and soups and has much better flavor, in my opinion.

It comes in Pork, Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Vegetable and Seafood/Fish versions. In my local grocery store, it's right next to the bullion and broths/stocks. (I've noticed that the Turkey version seems to be available more around holiday time)

Just a little bit of the "Better Than Bullion" goes a long way. Start with a slightly heaping teaspoon and add more, if needed. Remember to always taste your food periodically as your cooking it to check for proper seasoning!

Add about 1/4 Cup of Applejack Brandy to the pan and turn the heat up just a little to help the liquid absorb and reduce a bit. If you don't want to use alcohol, you can substitute with apple cider. Apple juice could be used, but it wouldn't really add the depth of flavor that cider would. But, keep in mind that the alcohol will burn off before it's finished cooking and only the delicious flavor will be left behind.

I add a little water or stock if the liquid evaporates too much or too quickly. You want it to be a little saucy when you spoon it over your chops.

The Grill Master, hard at work.

Remember... You can broil, bake or pan fry your chops if you don't have a grill, or if yours has been put away for the winter.

For the Potatoes:
(I used Yukon Gold Potatoes)

Cut your potatoes into similar sized pieces, place them in a large stockpot filled with cold, generously salted water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down just a little, so that the water is at a slow boil. Cook until fork tender, drain and put the potatoes back into the empty pot.

Add 4 Tbls of butter (yes, half a stick) and 1/2 C of sour cream and smash the potatoes to your desired consistency. Season well with salt and black pepper and keep warm until you're ready to serve them. (a great way to keep mashed or smashed potatoes warm, is to put them in the top portion of a double boiler, over barely simmering water, covered)

I like to leave the skins on and keep small chunks of potato for texture and flavor.

For the Beans:
(*My mother used to prepare fresh green beans this way when I was growing up. She didn't cook them like this often, but oh boy, when she did, I could have eaten the entire bowl, all by my lonesome.)

Place about 2 Cups of Milk, 1 Stick of Butter (yes, 1 whole stick) and a generous amount of Salt and Black Pepper in a saucepan or deep skillet.

Add your trimmed green beans to the pan and bring it all up to a simmer.

Cover the pan and cook the beans in the milk and butter for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they're tender. But, you don't want the beans to be mushy or falling apart.

I made the boo-boo of not paying close enough attention as it was heating up and it started to boil kind of vigorously. This caused the milk and butter mixture to separate a bit, but it didn't affect the flavor at all. They just didn't look as pretty.

A little extra pat of butter for the potatoes and a generous helping of the apples and onions on the chops and you're on your way to comfort food heaven.

Bona Fide Comfort Food
I serve the green beans in a separate bowl so you can get lots of the milk and butter. I know they're probably not the best thing for your arteries, but I only prepare them this way once in a blue moon. They really are a treat. Trust me.



Yay! My Chicken Enchilada Lasagna was featured this week at Creative Thursday, hosted by the very sweet Michelle at Michelle's Tasty Creations!

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  1. I have made something very similar to this in the past. I used a tenderloin roast and stuffed it with the apples and onions and more or less braised it in the cider mixture. It was very good, in my opinion. I will have to try the green bean idea, sounds good.

    1. Thanks, George! Sooo nice to hear from you!! I've done the small pork tenderloins in the oven and made the apples & onions to serve with it, but never stuffed a whole loin with it. I'll definitely have to give that a try some time. The green beans cooked in that sinful elixer are a true guilty pleasure, but hey, ya gotta indulge sometimes, right? Have you and your lovely bride been doing a lot of cooking since the nuptials?

    2. I do a lot of the cooking. She has had some health problems that are now behind us, I hope. She's not really confident in her kitchen skills, but she does just fine. Take care.

  2. Ok, it's only 10:00 a.m. and you have me starving! Yum!

    1. LOL! Thanks, Liza! I've been known to eat the odd left over pork chop at 10AM. Or pizza. Oh, and spaghetti... :~)

  3. Replies
    1. Careful, Kim my love... I wouldn't want you to short out your keyboard. ;~) Hope you're hangin' in there sweetie. XOXO

  4. Hi Mary thanks so much for joining us,your pork is making me very hungry and I've not long ago had dinner,looks so tasty :)

  5. Mary,
    I'll be right over for dinner! This looks so delicious! I love pork too (not so much my hubby) and am always looking for new ways to cook it. I made some yummy pork chops the other night and now I can't wait to try this recipe too. Thanks so much for sharing at Creative Thursday. I can't wait to see what you link up this week :) Have a great week.


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