Cider Braised Pork Chops
A pork chop is just a pork chop right? Not really. There are actually 5 cuts of chops that have their own distinctive flavor and cooking method.
SHOULDER CHOP- Or otherwise knows as blade chops. These chops have dark meat, lots of fat and bone. These are best for braising in slow moist heat to break it down to tenderize it.
LOIN CHOP- Or otherwise knows as the porterhouse cut of pork chops as they have a T shaped bone that has the loin on one side and tenderloin on the other depending on where on the loin its cut from.
RIB CHOP- This chop has a large eye of lean meat and the bone runs along one side. These chops are tender, have mild flavor and ideal for grilling or broiling.
BONELESS CHOP- These are basically rib chops with the bone removed. The absence of the bone provides protection from overcooking and the lack of fat makes it ideal for brining.
SIRLOIN CHOP- These have a high percentage of bone and composed of multiple muscle groups. These chops have great pork flavor and like the shoulder chop should be braised low and slow.
So now that you have a better understanding of cooking methods, im going to tell you that I personally treat them like i treat wine. I drink wine I LIKE, whether is "pairs well" with the meal or not. Im crazy like that. In this recipe you will see Im using rib chops. I prefer the flavor and yield of meat I get out of them.
Be sure to scrape up all the brown goodness off the bottom of the pot!
6 rib chops
2 TBSP vegetable oil
1 onion- chopped
3 garlic cloves- minced
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1 Cup apple cider
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup apple butter
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste
For a sweeter sauce, use sweetened apple butter
~ Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and pre-heat oven to 325d.
~ Pat chops dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
~ Heat oil in large dutch oven over medium/high heat until just smoking.
~ Brown chops in batches, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
~ Keeping fat in the pot, brown onions over medium heat. About 5 minutes.
~ Stir in garlic, flour, 2 TBSP of apple butter and cook for one minute and becomes fragrant.
~ Stir in cider and thyme, scraping any brown bits ( fond ) with a woodend spoon.
~ Add seared chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover and transfer to oven. Braise chops until tender or 1 1/2 hours.
~ Transer chops to serving platter. Strain sauce, whisk in vinegar, parsley and remaining apple butter.
Lace the chops with your finished sauce and enjoy with either a Shiraz or Chilean Merlot