I had a taste for some cider-brined pork chops, but the larder was sadly lacking in cider. Happily, I’d picked up some organic apple juice on a whim the week before, so I was certain I could come to an accommodation. I thought it best not to use the juice in place of cider in a brine, so went off to da Google to see what I could find.
Pork n’ apples. Pork n’ applesauce. Pork n’ applesauce and onion soup mix.
I was NOT feeling the love.
Still, I took a bit here and a touch there, and came up with this simple combo that hit all the right notes with me, and went very well with leftover Hasselback Potatoes.
•2 pork chops – these were boneless (not usually my favorite, but these were very good), thick-cut chops that we found in the meat aisle at Target (!)
•1 cup apple juice
•1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
•1 tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute – or your favorite salt-free spice blend
•Chopped fresh onion
•Diced fresh garlic
•Extra virgin olive oil
Adjust your ingredients based on how many chops you’re planning – this worked perfectly for us as a simple week night dinner.
Combine the apple juice, mustard, vinegar, and spice blend and pour over the chops. Cover, refrigerate, and marinade at least a couple of hours, or over night.
Remove chops from the marinade and let come up to room temperature (reserve the marinade).
Melt butter with the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. When hot, add onion and garlic and sautée until onion is tender.
Add the chops and cook about four minutes per side. Remove from the pan.
Add the reserved marinade to the onion and garlic and deglaze the pan – scraping up any of those tasty browned bits stuck to the bottom. Add the chops back to the pan, cover, and braise for a few minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened a bit. At this point, if you happen to have some warm Hasselback potatoes at hand, I would consider tossing ‘em in the pan for a minute or three.
Not too, too bad.