Apple Roasted Frenched Pork Chops

Although I love a piece of thick crispy bacon and can’t get enough Honeybaked ham, I am not a huge fan of pork chops.

It could be that my mom only served them one of two ways:

  • In the crockpot swimming in cream of mushroom soup or
  • In the oven, which meant they were usually overcooked and dried out “Shake and Bake” style.

My brother-in-law cooks a pork loin in a cream lime sauce that everyone else raves about.  I don’t know why, because he’s a great cook, but it’s never really appealed to me.  My husband and son love Shake and Bake and the pork chops have to be paper thin.  Nope, not for me!

So, in an effort to give pork another try, I’m experimenting on a rather expensive (for pork) preparation of the loin chop: Frenched double cut pork chop.

frenchporkchopsApple Roasted Frenched Pork Chops

Heat a large skillet (one that has a lid) with about 2 TBLS Olive Oil over a high flame.  Liberally salt and pepper both sides and the fatty edge (I prefer freshly ground for both and I use sea salt) of 2 French Cut inch to inch and a half double cut bone in pork chops (I get mine at Trader Joe’s).  When the oil is hot, sear the chops on both sides and on the fatty edge for 2-3 minutes per area.

Remove the chops from the pan and lower the heat to Medium.  Add 1 thinly sliced small granny smith apple (peel on), about 1/2 Cup thinly sliced and separated sweet yellow onion, and 4-6 bulbs pre-roasted and cooled garlic to the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, until garlic is thoroughly incorporated (use a fork to break up the bulbs), onions are opaque and apples begin to soften.  Add about 1 Cup apple juice, apple cider or white wine (if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it!) and stir up the brown pieces while deglazing the pan cook 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low.  Add 1 Cup low-sodium chicken broth to the pan and simmer for 2 more minutes.

Return the pork chops to the pan, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-22 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops.  Turn the chops over at about 10 minutes.

Remove the chops from the pan and add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of heavy cream and a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper to the pan.  Increase heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring continuously to scrape up browned bits and thicken the sauce.  Evenly distribute the apple, onion and sauce over the chops and serve immediately

I serve these atop a bed of mashed potatoes or with yesterday’s recipe: Roasted Garlic Cheesy Cauliflower and a crisp green salad.

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Roasted Garlic Cheesy Cauliflower

roastedgarliccheesycauliflowerI bought a couple of heads of cauliflower at the farmer’s market, but wasn’t excited to serve it steamed with cheese, as make-believe rice, wannabe mashed potatoes, or even spiced up and roasted whole.

A trip to Trader Joe’s later, I had some inspiration for a main dish casserole I could serve with a salad.  Later this week it will be a great side dish for smoked sausage or, if I’m feeling inspired, Roasted Frenched Pork Chops.

If you don’t eat, or don’t like pork products, you can easily substitute shredded chicken (grocery store rotisserie or home prepared) for the ham and either leave the bacon out or substitute turkey bacon.  Another option is to cut leftover steak or prime rib into cubes as a substitute for the ham and leave in the bacon.  If you are vegetarian you can leave the meat out completely and add more bell pepper (red, yellow, orange or green). It’s a recipe that’s easy to get creative with.

Roasted Garlic Cheesy Cauliflower

  • 2 Heads of Cauliflower
  • 2 Cups Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese
  • 2 Cups Shredded Aged Gouda (or Trader Joe’s Gouda/Parmesan Blend) Cheese
  • 4 TBLS Butter
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
  • 3 Chopped Green Onions
  • 6 Slices Cooked Bacon
  • 2 Cups Diced Cooked Ham
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Roasted
  • 3 Shallots, Roasted
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • About 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 2 TBLS Gluten Free Flour
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or 1/2 & 1/2 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 Pyrex baking dish and set aside.

roastedgarlicPeel away the papery skin and cut off the top of the garlic clove.  Place inside a square of foil, drizzle with olive oil, close up the foil package, and place in a shallow pan in the oven.  Do the same for the shallots.  Bake 30-40 minutes and remove from oven.  Set aside for a few minutes then open up foil pouch to let cool.

Break apart cauliflower heads, discard the stem and steam in a steamer in a large pot until tender but not mushy (about 20 minutes per head – you may have to do it in 2 batches).  Transfer cauliflower to Vitamix Container or Food Processor and pulse until florets break apart but do not pulverize.  Remove the cauliflower and put into a large mixing bowl.  Add diced bell pepper, ham, half of the chopped green onions, and half of the crumbled bacon.  Toss to combine.

In heavy saucepan squeeze the roasted garlic and shallots out of their skins and add 3 TBLS butter.  Cook over medium heat until butter melts.  Using a fork or an immersion blender stir/blend until the garlic and shallots are crushed and well combined.  Add a generous amount of pepper, the cream (or 1/2 & 1/2) and bring just to a boil.  Combine the last 1 TBLS of butter (melted) with 2 TBLS of the Gluten Free flour (all purpose if GF isn’t a concern for you) and blend or whisk into the mixture in the pan until the mixture begins to thicken.  Add the cream cheese then 1 Cup of the pepper jack and 1 Cup of the gouda, stirring constantly until melted.  It may not be a flowing sauce, but resemble a big melted blob – that’s ok.  Remove from heat and pour into the cauliflower mixture in a large bowl.  Use a large rubber spatula to stir together until well mixed.

Spread into prepared 9 x 13 pan, sprinkle remaining bacon, green onion and cheeses over the top, cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes; remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is brown and bubbly.  Remove from oven and let cool 5-10 minutes. I serve with a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot for those who like more spice.

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