Quick Pork Chops with Apples and Sage Cream Sauce

Quick Pork Chops with Apples and Sage Cream Sauce     .jpg

Do you ever get stuck in a rut when it comes to an ingredient? When I was a kid my mom made (really excellent) pork chops dipped in an egg wash and tossed with breadcrumbs and topped with onions. For the longest time, that was the only place my mind would go when it came to pork chops. More recently I’ve come to appreciate the versatility of quick cooking pork chops on nights when I just can’t deal with the thought of one. more. chicken breast. Of course, pork chops and apples are old pals, a classic pairing. However, classic doesn’t always mean delicious. Too frequently, the pork winds up dry and flavorless and the apples turn to mush. This recipe remedies both of those problems and restores the classic duo to their rightful glory.

This dish is a delightful autumn dinner, fast enough to whip up on a weeknight but special enough for company on the weekend. Thin cut pork chops are quickly seared to form a flavorful crust while the interior stays moist and tender. Then sweet and tart apples and onions are sautéed in the same pan. Finally a savory, herby cream sauce comes together at the last minute in the pan, lightly coating the pork and apples with just a bit of richness. Serve this with mashed potatoes or polenta (hint hint, an awesome recipe is coming your way tomorrow) for a hearty supper or serve along side a mixed salad for a lighter, low carb option. Either way, you’ll have a cozy, tasty fall dinner on your table in no time.

quick-pork-chops-and-apples-in-sage-cream-sauce

Quick Pork Chops with Apples and Sage Cream Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 (5-6 oz) thin cut bone-in pork chops
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Instructions:

Heat large skillet over medium high heat. With paper towels, dry pork chops. Season pork chops with ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Add oil and butter to skillet. Once oil and butter shimmer in pan, add pork chops and brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Remove pork chops from pan to a plate. Reduce heat to medium.

While pork chops are browning, mix mustard and wine in small bowl. Once pork chops are removed from skillet, add wine and mustard, stirring to scrap up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add apples, onions and herbs. Cook apples and onions until softened and wine has reduced, about 3-4 minutes. If pan becomes too dry, add water or wine. Add pork chops back to pan and cook until cooked through, about another 3 minutes. Turn off heat. Add heavy cream and remaining ½ tsp each salt and pepper to pan, stirring until sauce is combined.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Cooking Light

quick-pork-chops-with-apples-and-sage-cream-sauce

Philly-Style Italian Roast Pork

philly-style-italian-roast-porkI like to root for the underdog, don’t you? For example, JC was my favorite member of *NSYNC, not Justin. I like to see the Cleveland Browns win once in a while. And as far as Philly food goes, a good roast pork sandwich will get my vote over a cheesesteak any day. It seems most people outside of the Philadelphia area know of the famous Philly cheesesteak, but not so many know about the roast pork sandwiches. People! You’re missing out! I was once one of the uninitiated before I moved to the area. When I thought of shredded pork sandwiches, I thought of barbecue pulled pork. Philly-style roast pork is a different beast entirely. I became a convert with my first bite. Succulent, luscious chunks of pork with browned, crisp edges swim in savory broth that saturates the crusty bun. Topped with spicy banana peppers and sharp provolone cheese, it is a masterpiece of flavor and texture. Cheesesteaks are delicious, but roast pork is downright dreamy.

I love to make this Philly-style roast pork at home for a couple of reasons. Of course, it’s delicious. The house smells incredible as the pork slowly roasts in the oven. And OMG, the leftovers are divine and freeze really well. This is a great dish to make for a big game, tailgate or bonfire. It feeds an army, is hearty and delicious and can easily be made ahead. Meaning you are free to cheer on your team or catch on gossip.

While this recipe is simple, there are a couple of things to keep in mind to ensure you maximize the deliciousness. First, it is really worth the extra 10 minutes to thoroughly brown the meat on all sides before it goes in the oven. Obviously you will want to pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels ahead of this step, to minimize splattering. Then get the oil good and hot and go at it. Next, since this recipe calls for a huge piece of meat, you’ll need a big cooking vessel. I used a 13 quart dutch oven. You could also use a roasting pan or even a 9×13 dish and cover with foil before putting it in the oven. If using either of these options, brown the meat in a very large skillet (unless your roasting pan is safe to use on the stovetop.) Finally, you cannot rush this. Check the pork after 3 hours, and if it shreds easily, it’s done. But if it doesn’t, just close the oven door for another hour and check it then. Cranking the heat too high will not do you any favors.

The Philly-style Italian roast pork sandwich is the kind of underdog I can really get behind. Now if Notre Dame could just pull out a win… There’s always this weekend!

philly-style-italian-roast-pork

Philly-Style Italian Roast Pork

6-7 lb pork shoulder (either boneless or bone-in)
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 cups white wine
1-2 cups water
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

For serving: sandwich rolls, banana peppers, provolone cheese, broccoli rabe

Pre-heat oven to 325.

Prepare pork shoulder. Pat dry and trim excess fat (lots of fat will remain, that is fine). Mix salt, Italian seasoning and black pepper together in small bowl. Rub salt/herb/pepper mixture over all sides of pork shoulder.

In large dutch oven or roasting pan on stovetop, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Carefully place pork in oil and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Once pork is browned, reduce heat to medium and add onions and garlic to pan and cook 2-3 minutes, until translucent and fragrant. Add white wine and enough water to bring liquid about 1/3 of the way up the pork. Place lid on dutch oven or cover top of roasting pan tightly with foil. Cook 3-4 hours, turning the pork once per hour. When turning the pork, add water sufficient to come 1/3 of the way up the pork if some has evaporated. Pork is ready when it shreds easily with a fork.

Once pork is done, shred with two forks and toss with pan juices and onions. Remove herb stems, large pieces of fat and bone, if a bone-in pork shoulder was used. Serve on toasted sandwich rolls with banana pepper rings and provolone cheese. Sandwich can also be topped with sautéed broccoli rabe, if desired.

If making roast pork head, shred and refrigerate in pan juices. Heat in crockpot on low and keep warm until serving.

Serves 8-10.

 

Caramelized Onion, Smoked Gouda and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

 

IMG_6269

I have to tell you, being a grown up is not nearly as fun, liberating or glamorous as I anticipated it would be when I was 10. 10 year old Diane was going to grow up to be the next Celine Dion, live in a ridiculous mansion and have zero obligations. She would always have a bowl of raw cookie dough in the fridge for snacking and would have a massive pool in the backyard for her pet dolphin. Naps would be abolished. Not to disappoint my younger self, but I am decidedly NOT the next Celine Dion (that’s still Celine.) My house is not a mansion and I alone am responsible for all cooking, cleaning and laundry in my little corner of the world- but only after a full day of work. If I want some cookie dough, I’m going to have to buy the ingredients, pull out the mixer and make some. I get to do the dishes, too.

But, it’s not all bad. I’m married to a hunk of a man even more handsome than Zack Morris (10 year old Diane is thoroughly impressed.) Naps are now an infrequent but divine indulgence. While I still don’t have a pet dolphin, I do have the two sweetest kitty cats who have ever laid little jellybean toes on this earth. And, now I get to decide what we have for dinner. No more sloppy joes! Sorry, Mom. This caramelized onion, smoked gouda and bacon stuffed chicken is the kind of dinner that takes some of the sting out of being grown up.

Tender, juicy chicken breasts are stuffed with sweet, jammy caramelized onions, luscious smoked gouda cheese and bacon. It’s a decadent, delicious combination that will make it easy to clean your plate, per Mom’s orders. There are a few moving parts, between crisping the bacon, caramelizing the onions and shredding the cheese, but they’re all no brainers. If you caramelize the onions and crisp the bacon on the weekend, this would come together quickly on a weeknight. Or pour yourself a glass of wine and cook yourself a leisurely dinner. Go ahead and pour a second glass, too- you are a grown up after all.

Stay tuned tomorrow for some killer butter roasted potatoes to serve as a side with this chicken!

IMG_6184

Caramelized Onion, Smoked Gouda and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia, halved then thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and finely chopped
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Start by making caramelized onions*. These may be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Heat butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions, sugar and salt to pan. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, add 1 tsp thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized. Onions will require more attention as they near the end of cooking. Once brown bits start to stick to bottom of pan, add wine and scrape up brown bits. Entire process will take about 40 minutes. Once onions are done, remove from heat and place in small bowl.

While onions are caramelizing, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Season chicken breasts with kosher salt and pepper. Beginning at the thickest part of each chicken breast, use a paring knife cut a slit about 2 inches wide, taking care not to cut all the way through. Carefully use knife to deepen the pocket toward the top and bottom of the chicken breast, trying not to cut a hole all the way through. The idea is to maximize space for the filling while keeping the pocket neat enough to contain it. Place chicken breasts on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Preheat oven to 350. Once onions are prepared, stuff chicken breasts. Add 1 Tbsp each onions, cheese and bacon to each chicken breast, working the filling all the way through the pocket, toward top and bottom of each piece. Top each chicken breast with 1 Tbsp smoked Gouda and remaining 1 tsp thyme.

Place chicken breasts in oven and bake about 30 minutes or until meat reaches 160 at thickest part. Remove chicken from oven. Preheat broiler. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp oil over chicken breasts and return to oven, under the broiler. Broil 1-2 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Some cheese will ooze out during cooking- just scoop it up and serve with the chicken.

Allow chicken to rest 5 minutes, then serve.

Serves 4

*This will make more caramelized onions than you need for this recipe, but why not make some extra while you’re at it. Store in the fridge and put on sandwiches, in omelets or, let’s be real, eat straight from the container.