Friday, November 19, 2004

Recipe: Pork with Onions & Apples

This began as another of those "What'll we have for dinner?" creations. The old, when in doubt go scrounge around in the refrigerator and make something up out of what you find. It was October, so we found some apples; we always have onions on hand; and the late September weather had been so lousy, we had some frozen 'country style' pork ribs that hadn't gotten barbecued. Hmmm... Dinner for two.

Since then, the basic approach has become a staple on the menu, and has been done with pork roasts, chops and cutlets, as well as ribs. They all work fine. It’s simple, quick, and just plain good.

here's what you'll need . . .
pork, chops, ribs ('country style', thick, with or without bones, cheap), cutlets, roast, . . .
Tabasco Sauce
Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins, of course)
1 medium yellow onion
1 nice red, medium sized Macintosh apple (or your favorite type)
fresh ground Tellicherry
olive oil
white wine

Here's how you do it.
Though the original creation was done with some frozen ribs, this dish works much better with fresh meat – mainly because marinating will let the meat develop a layer of flavor independent of the liquid in which it’s cooked.

Pork chops etc.

Start by giving both sides of the (in this case) chops a thorough rubbing with a liberal dose of Tabasco. Not so much that you end up with a pool on the plate, but enough to give a goodly reddish coat to both sides of the meat. Then take a fork and make three or four stabs into each side of the meat. Finally, douse the chops with Worcestershire sauce. You want a complete coat on the top of each chop (spread it around if you need to), and a good-sized puddle underneath. Let the meat marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes (but no more than an hour), turning every 10 minutes or so.

Pork chops marinating

Meanwhile, do all the other stuff (set the table, make the coffee, feed the cat, prepare potatoes and vegetables, ...). And, chop the onion and the apple. The onion, you know how (or if not, check the earlier post).

As for the apple, well, yank the stem. Then cut it in half and cut each half in half and maybe in half again (all vertically, along the stem line). Carve out the core and the seeds from each piece and then chop them up into ½ inch or so chunks.

Coring the apple

Coat the bottom of a baking dish with a generous layer of olive oil, and toss in the meat. Pour the marinade all over, sprinkle the onions around; sprinkle the apples on top; splash a little white wine over everything; and season with copious quantities of freshly ground (coarse, of course) Tellicherry black pepper.

In the dish

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (crimp the edges to seal), and bake at around 350 ºF for at least 45 minutes. If you want to, you can let it go for up to 2 hours; after that you’ll have pork jerky – very tasty pork jerky, but . . .

Covered and ready to cook

We like to serve these chops (in fact, most pork dishes) with boiled potatoes and Corn O’Catherine, Apple Sauce and probably a salad. If you want, you can turn the cooking liquid into a sauce - just cook it down to half its volume and serve it on the side.

Pork chops with apple and onions

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