Caramel Apple Pork Chops

I’ve been mildly intrigued by the idea of apple sauce pork chops ever since I saw them on a Food Network special. Not necessarily intrigued in a good way, but more in a scientific kind of way, in a “what could possibly inspire someone to put two so seemingly random things together” kind of way. But curiosity, I’ve found, is a major part of being a foodie, and an enormous part of being a chef. I found tons of recipes telling me how to make it, but nothing telling me why people make it.

After asking around for a while, the answers I’ve gotten run the gamut from historical preference to likening it to eating lamb and mint jelly, to a little more scientific advice given by the Oxford Companion to Food – basically, that the acidity of the apples cuts through some of the fattiness of the meat. The biggest response was that it, well, tastes good. Fair enough.

But proof as always is in the pudding – or in this case, the pork chop, so I decided to do some experimenting with apples and sweetness and, oh, why not throw caramel into the mix? Let me know what you think, but after tasting this flavor combination, I’m in love. And I can also serve the leftover caramelized apples and pecans with a big dollop of homemade ice cream for dessert.

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

Serves 4.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 boneless sirloin pork chops, thick cut
  • 2 apples, sliced into wedges {I used Fuji here}
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 4 tbsp chopped pecan halves
  • Salt to taste

How to make them:

1. Saute the chops over medium heat with a large pat of butter, turning occasionally, for about 8 minutes for 3/4 inch chops. For thick chops, though, you’ll need a lot more. Be patient and do test cuts.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Throw butter into the skillet and add the brown sugar mixture and apples. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the apples are tender. During the last minute, spoon in the pecans.

3. Remove the apples from the mixture and keep cooking the rest for another couple minutes, until the sugar sauce caramelizes. Trust me, it’s awesome.

4. Serve up the chops with the caramelized apples and spoon the sauce and caramelized pecans over the lot for a pretty epic treat.

If you end up with leftover apples, caramel sauce, and pecans, like we did, don’t despair…just add to a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream for an epic after dinner treat!

We still have tons of apples – what other apple recipes should we share?

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