Eating local in the dead of winter can have it’s challenges here in Ontario. That said, while we may not have strawberries we have plenty of Ontario apples, mushrooms grow year round, onions store well and we planned ahead this year and split a whole pig with friends ensuring a well-stocked freezer. When a gorgeous basket of Empire apples showed up on the door step from the Ontario Apple Growers I knew exactly what to make for dinner.
This recipe for pork chops and apples is Ryan’s favourite dinner these days.
We serve it with mashed potatoes and there are never any left overs.
2 pork chops
2 yellow onions
3 large empire apples, cored and sliced into thick wedges
8 small mushrooms cut in half
Salt and Pepper
2 table spoons unsalted butter
1.5 cups/1 bottle of hard apple cider
We brine our pork first which ensures we never have a dry chop. Loosely following Shana’s brining instructions I combine more apple cider, juniper berries and salt along with some thyme and a bay leaf. Depending on how organized I am, I aim to brine the pork in the fridge first thing in the morning but have done it for as little as one hour.
When it’s time to make dinner, preheat the oven to 350° and remove the pork from the brine, give it a quick rinse and pat dry. Then sprinkle them generously with coarsely ground salt and pepper.
Heat a cast iron frying pan on high heat for a few minutes, you want a really hot pan to start. Add the olive oil and butter. lay the pork chops in and wait 5 minutes without touching them to ensure a nice sear.
Chop your onions, apples and mushrooms while the pork is searing.
Flip your chops and add the apples, onions and mushrooms and cook them on the stove top for another 10 minutes until the apples and pork have browned. Stir occasionally, adding the cider 5 minutes in.
Transfer the pan to the oven for another 15 minutes. Check pork temperature with meat thermometer and remove from oven when it reads 140°.
Serve with apple, mushroom and onion mixture over mashed potatoes.