Monday, January 5, 2009

Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins

I received a bunch of cookbooks for Christmas. Feeling overloaded on sweets, I decided this meal would be a great way to get back into eating better. As it says in the cookbook, the key to this recipe seems to be brining the pork chops before cooking them - it makes the meat very tender. When preparing the brining liquid, please remember to add the gallon of water last. Like an idiot, I filled the bag with water first, and it ended up all over the kitchen (and my new cookbook!). Luckily, there wasn't anything sticky in the solution yet, like the brown sugar, and it was pretty easy to clean up.

Thick Pork Chops with Spiced Apples and Raisins
adapted from Tyler Florence's Real Kitchen


Pork Chops:

1 gallon water
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sea salt
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (I used regular apple juice, since we had it on hand)
1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 fresh thyme sprigs (I used dried thyme)
4 double-cut bone-in loin pork chops, 1 pound each (the only meat I could find totaled to about 3 lbs, so mine were slightly smaller than suggested)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Spiced Apples and Raisins:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced in 1/2-inch-thick wedges
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs (see above re: thyme)
1/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (see above re: apple juice)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch dry mustard

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon (I used store bought lemon juice)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a mixing bowl combine the water, brown sugar, sea salt, apple juice concentrate, peppercorns, and thyme. Give it a good stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Transfer the mixture to an extra-large re-sealable plastic bag. Submerge the pork chops in the brine, seal up the bag, and put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to tenderize the meat. Do not brine longer than that or the meat will break down too much and get mushy.

Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides of the meat with salt and pepper. Put a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add a 3-count drizzle of olive oil and get it hot. Lay 2 pork chops in the pan (most likely only 2 of these massive pork chops will fit comfortably) and brown 4 minutes per side. Remove the pork chops to a large baking pan; brown the remaining 2 chops and add them to the others in the pan. Put the baking pan in the oven and roast the chops for 30 minutes. The pork is done when the center is still rosy and the internal temperature reads 140 to 145 degrees F when tested with an instant-read thermometer.

While the chops cook, melt the butter in a clean skillet over medium-low heat. Add the apples and thyme and coat in the butter; cook and stir for 8 minutes to give them some color. Toss in the raisins and add the apple juice, stirring to scrape up the brown bits. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and dry mustard; season with salt and pepper. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon to wake up the flavor and simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples break down and soften. Spoon the spiced apples over the pork chops.

Servings: 4

This recipe was really good. Although it says to bake the meat for 30 minutes, my pork chops were a little more done than I would like. I think it was because the meat I bought wasn't super thick like the picture in the book shows. I was planning on checking them at 20 minutes to see how they were cooking, but I got distracted making the spiced apples. The next time I can get my hands on some affordable spices, I'd like to try this recipe out using all the ingredients. I didn't have cardamom, cloves or dry mustard on hand, and each spice would have run me about $10 at the store. I thought that was a little much, so I opted not to use them - especially since I don't have many recipes that call for those spices.

I served this with Vanilla-Honey Glazed Carrots, but the book suggests to serve it with Tyler's corn pudding. (NOTE: this isn't the recipe in his book, but it's the closest I could find online.)


  1. Delicious. I love classic combo pork and apple.

  2. I love all the flavors in this and the side dishes sounds great too!