Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pork Chops with Maple-Cider Cabbage

This is so easy and good.

Pork Chops with Maple-Cider Cabbage
Serves 4
Active time 25 minutes; total time 50 minutes

Cabbage is famously expensive, packed with nutrients, and a classic accompaniment for pork. Look for naturally raised chops on sale, then buy more than you need and freeze them for easy meals such as this one, where they're paired with braised cabbage that has gone meltingly tender and sweet in the oven.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
2 tablespoons butter, divided use
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red cabbage, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tart apple, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
4 pork chops
1/2 cup flour

Heat the oven to 300. Begin by heating 1 tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven or a large, lidded ovenproof frying pan, over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 5 or so minutes. Add the cabbage and apple, along with 1 teaspoon of salt, and sauté, stirring, for 1 or 2 minutes, until the cabbage and apple are wilted and shiny. Add the syrup, vinegar, and water, along with another 1/2 teaspoon salt, bring the liquid to a boil, cover the pot, and place in the oven to braise for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a plate, stir together the flour with 1 teaspoon of salt. Pat the pork chops dry and dredge them in flour, one at a time, shaking off the excess. Heat the remaining oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and when the fat is hot enough to sizzle a pinch of flour, fry the pork chops until they are deep brown on the underside, around 4 minutes, then flip them and fry them another 3 or 4 minutes until they are well browned (if your skillet is not large enough, you will need to do this in batches). You're not trying to cook the pork through at this point, only to brown it.

Nestle the pork chops in the braised cabbage. If the pot looks dry, add another quarter cup of water, then return it to the oven to braise, covered, for 20 more minutes. Serve with noodles, rice, or potatoes.

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