Doug Fincke contributed this recipe for Smothered Pork Chops to Endangered Recipes. Fincke is one of Lari Robling's "recipe rescuers," and his life revolves around apples. Fincke takes care of the orchards on the grounds of Montgomery Place in the Hudson Valley. Several varieties of heirloom varieties of apples are grown on the estate, and Fincke has grown to know each one personally.
"The old apple varieties are like people," says Doug Fincke. "You get to know all of their intrinsic qualities."
Pork and apples are a great match, but add mustard and sauerkraut and you have something really special. Robling prefers sweeter apples for this recipes, Braeburn or Rome varieties are perfect. They will break down during the cooking process creating their own sauce for the chops.
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- 4 center cut pork chops, 3/4 inch thick (about 2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 12-ounce bottle hard cider (or other apple cider)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large apples, cored, cut into 8 wedges and then 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound sauerkraut, rinsed and drained (about 3 cups drained)
Rub chops evenly with mustard.
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven. Add pork chops (in 2 batches if necessary) and brown on both sides. Set aside. Add the onion and sautee until limp. Add cider, stirring to deglaze all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper.
Return the chops to the pan and smother with apples and sauerkraut. Bring to a boil. Then lower heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes or until chops are tender. Check occasionally during cooking.