I came to this recipe after acquiring some particularly thick, bone-in pork chops that didn’t fry up well. My search brought me to the Joy of Cooking (always a go-to when it comes to staples), and resulted in one of my favorite ways to make pork. The technique of searing and then baking results in extremely tender chops with good flavor. I loved the recipe so much that my personal copy of Joy now boasts a Mom-style annotation: delicious!
My adaptation strays from the original in that I tend to use apples and cider (as opposed to other fruits, such as prunes, apricots, or pineapple slices, and chicken stock or other fruit juices), but mostly because I usually have apples on hand when I have chops in the fridge. I also tend simply to make a reduction from the pan juices as opposed to a sour-cream-enriched sauce as the original recipe recommends. Of course, as with any good dish, this one is open to interpretation. Perhaps some day I will feel compelled to mix it up… but in the meantime, I simply plan to enjoy.
Braised Pork Chops with Apples
Adapted from “Braised Pork Chops with Fruit,” Rombauer & Becker, Joy of Cooking (30th printing, May 1983), p. 479
Preheat oven to 325 F. Season your pork chops (3/4 inch thick or more; allow 1 chop per person) with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Sear on both sides in a lightly greased hot skillet.
Core apples (1 apple for every 2 chops). Place one half of an apple on each of the chops, skin side down (so they form a cup). Fill the centers of the fruit with brown sugar.
Cover the bottom of the skillet to 1/2 inch with apple cider. Cover the pan closely. Bake about 1 hour. Remove the chops from the pan carefully, so as not to disturb the fruit. Keep warm. If desired, make a reduction from the pan juices. It’s delicious on potatoes.