I guess the pork and fruit pairing falls under the savory-sweet umbrella but personally, I think they’re a classic pairing because pork can taste a bit foul and a fruity addition can counter this. I’m not a big fan of pork mostly because I don’t like big globs of fat. I don’t eat that last bit of fat at the end of a stick of pork barbecue. Won’t eat the strip of fat on one end of a pork chop either. I don’t know, it’s just gross. Don’t get me wrong – I’m far from being a health nut. And if the fat is sliced thinly enough and fried to an unrecognizable crisp, I’ll eat it. (Hello, bacon!) I guess it’s more of a texture issue than anything but then again, I do find it foul-tasting or malansa sometimes.
While grocery-shopping with my Mom a few days ago, I noticed her picking up some pork chops. We almost never eat pork chops at home. When I asked her what she was gonna make with it, she answered she wasn’t gonna make anything but I was. And I accepted her challenge.
I initially wanted to do a stuffed pork chop (cherry and pecan stuffing sounded lovely) but I realized my chops weren’t thick enough so I finally settled on this smothered pork chop recipe by Tyler Florence with a few modifications. For my fruit element, I decided on an apple coleslaw. I started with the coleslaw because I wanted it to cool in the fridge while I made the chops.
For the apple coleslaw, you’ll need:
1 medium carrot
1/2 small cabbage
1 small red onion
1 Asian apple
2 T mayonnaise
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
1 T cider vinegar
salt to taste
1. Shred the cabbage. Slice the carrot, onion and apple into thin strips. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients. I like to make the dressing in the mixing bowl to minimize dishwashing.
Please pay no attention to the fact that it looks like something I ate came back up. My dressing is pink because I happened to have black currant Dijon mustard (available at Santi’s). More fruitiness, yay!
2. Transfer cabbage, carrot, onion and apple into the mixing bowl and toss to distribute the dressing evenly. Transfer again to a serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
Moving on to the smothered pork chops. I like how this recipe requires no marination. I kept feeling like I forgot to do something prior to cooking this but I didn’t! The infusion of flavors comes later and all in one pan. Awesome! Anyway, I used:
6 1/2-inch loin chops
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 T onion powder
2 T garlic powder
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup cream
1. Make the dredging mixture by combining the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
2. In a pan on medium-high heat, pour in half the olive oil. Don’t use a non-stick pan. The bits of seared pork stuck to the pan will make for a super flavorful gravy later. Dredge the chops on both sides and tap off the excess. Bring it to the pan when the oil is ready and cook for about 2 minutes on each side. I had to sear in 2 batches so I replenished the pan with the remaining olive oil between batches.
3. Once all the chops are seared, set aside. Gravy time! Turn down the heat to low and sprinkle 1 T of the dredging mixture into the pan. Stir until there are no traces of flour.
4. Pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and stir. Leave to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until it thickens.
5. Add a splash of cream and stir. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Bring the chops back into the gravy and cook on low for about 5 minutes. I spooned some gravy on top, too.
By the time these were done, the gravy was significantly reduced. I transferred the chops to a serving plate. I added one more cup of chicken stock to the pan, a sprinkling of the dredging mixture and a splash of cream and let it simmer for a bit to thicken mixing well to dissolve the blobs of flour. Once thickened, I added in the remaining chops. When those were done too, I transferred them to their respective serving plates and that’s when I poured the leftover gravy on all the pork chops. Each serving looked like this:
I wish I had some parsley to use as garnish, that would’ve freshened up this plate a lot. No matter, these pork chops were soft and delicious. I’m pretty sure I was willingly chewing on bits of soft fat, too. The gravy was bomb, I wished I had more of it. My only beef with this pork chop recipe is the dredging mixture – it makes waaaay too much! To think I already reduced the flour by a quarter cup. Next time, I’d halve the recipe. Oh wait, I’m keeping the leftovers so I’ll just use that instead but that’s a heads up for you, dear reader. As for the apple coleslaw, it came out a bit dry. So on the flip side, I would double the dressing on that. I’m glad I made a coleslaw though, the cool crunchiness was a nice contrast with the warm, soft pork chops.
Fun Food Fact: Why do people say “It’s all gravy!” or “I’m on the gravy train!”? Because gravy is a beautiful, beautiful thing.