I really wanted to call this dish a Very Brady Pork Chop
I could hear Peter Brady’s dreadful Humphrey Bogart impression in my mind as I cooked this recipe. Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream? Sigh, internet friendly recipe titles aren’t any fun. This should be a Very Brady Pork Chop, for it really is “pork chops and applesauce.” Now that title would have been swell.
Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream it is
Alas, with apologies to Peter Brady, this dish an autumnal delight. And, honestly, better than apple sauce, because you add a glug of cream to it at the end. Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream definitely falls into the “brown food tastes good” category, but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in flavor.
Borrowed Julia Child’s technique
If you’ve followed along for a while, you know how much I love Julia Child’s Pork Chops and consider it a perfect recipe for pork chops. I borrowed the basics of that recipe here—I marinated the pork chops, substituting apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice, and then browned them and braised them in butter. You get a perfectly seasoned and cooked pork chop every time for very little effort. There’s a reason why it’s one of my back-pocket recipes.
Autumnal New England touches
In mixing this up, I added some New England touches to create Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream. Before browning the chops, I softened some shallots and apples, adding them back to the pan while the chops braised. Instead of making a pan sauce with wine, I left the shallots and apples in the pan and added apple cider.
A little cream hits the spot
Once that reduced, I added cream at the end. That cream, Dear Reader, really makes this thing sing. You could leave it out if you wished—this is very good with just the cider reduction—but I’m sticking with it. You might also pop some dried cranberries into the pan while the chops braise for another tart-sweet addition, but this doesn’t need them.
Marinade is magic
Like Julia Child’s recipe, this makes a perfectly cooked pork chop that is anything but dry and sad. This is a hard recipe to mess up. You want to allow the marinade time to do its magic—the longer it goes, the better. In a pinch, you could do a quick marinade while the pork chops come to room temperature, but the best results come from letting that marinade do its magic for a few hours in the fridge. You could even leave it overnight, and you won’t be mad about it.
No additional seasoning required
You’ll also find that you will likely not need to season the chops any further in the pan. The marinade adds plenty of salt—do be sure to scrape it off before cooking. Of course, we taste before serving, but I’ve never had to add anything additional with this recipe.
Keep an eye on the temperature
The only trick is to keep an eye on them as they braise. Turn them after ten minutes or so, and take the temperature. You don’t want it going above 145F/62.7C before removing them from the pan. Over years of cooking pork chops this way, I’ve found that the cook time can vary a great deal, depending on the thickness of the chop, browning, and the like, so I really just go by temperature.
Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream . . . SO GOOD
Bite into one of these pork chops, surrounded by a creamy, apple-y sauce, and I bet your eyes roll to the back of your head. These are that good. You won’t let that sauce go to waste, either. Perhaps some mashed potatoes as a side, or a hunk of crusty bread. I won’t tell if you lick it your plate.
One note about the demo
My kitchen here in New Hampshire is rather dark and doesn’t lend itself much to filming demos, and so I am using an electric burner. I’m not super used to cooking on it, and I’m finding the temperature a bit tricky to control. I got a bit nervous about the shallots, and so I didn’t quite soften them quite enough in the demo. You do want to get them soft enough to be able to cut them with a spatula before adding the apples.
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Featured in this recipe
Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots in Cider and Cream
- Aluminum foil
Marinated Pork Chops
- 2 bone-in center cut pork chops you can use boneless, but watch the cooking time
- kosher salt
- 5 peppercorns, cracked
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp neutral oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots, quartered shallot sizes can vary a lot and are generally on the larger size in the US. If yours are huge, use 1 and adjust. With European shallots, use 4 and cut them in half
- 2 apples, preferably cortland, cored and thickly sliced peeling optional
- ½ cup fresh apple cider
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
Marinate the Chops
- Season the pork chops very generously with kosher salt and the cracked pepper. Add the chops to a large resealable bag or dish with lid. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake the bag to coat evenly (or mix to combine). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but preferably 2–4 hours (overnight is OK, too, but not more than 24 hours), shaking occasionally2 bone-in center cut pork chops, kosher salt, 5 peppercorns, cracked, 1 tbsp neutral oil, 1 sprig thyme, 1 clove garlic, smashed, 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Cook the Chops
- About 30 minutes before cooking, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator. Scrape off the marinade with a butter knife and set aside to come to temperature. Discard the marinade
- In a braiser or a skillet with lid, add 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften. Add the apples, and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the apples and shallots from the pan and reserve them in a bowl. Leave any bits in the pan1-2 tbsp neutral oil, 2 shallots, quartered, 2 apples, preferably cortland, cored and thickly sliced
- If necessary, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels (this helps them to brown) and brown over medium-high heat (it's OK if they aren't supper brown at this point, they will continue to brown as they braise, but you want some color). Remove the pork chops to a plate. They are NOT fully cooked at this point
- Drain off any remaining oil and let the pan cool a little. Over low heat, melt the butter (if it sizzles a lot, remove the pan from heat until it just melts). When the butter is melted, add the chops, placing them close together, and then surround them with the apples and shallots, giving those a stir2 tbsp butter
- Cover the pan and cook over very low heat, turning the pork chops once after about 10 minutes and taking a temperature read, until the internal temperature reaches 145 F (62.7C). Listen as things cook, you don't want a ton of sizzling, but they should be cooking, and be sure to keep an eye on the temperature, so as not to overcook the chops
- Remove the pork chops, to a plate and tent with foil to rest, leaving the apples and shallots in the pan
- Over medium high heat, add the apple cider to the pan and deglaze the pan, dislodging any baked on bits from the bottom. Continue to cook until the cider has reduced to a syrupy consistency½ cup fresh apple cider
- Remove from heat and add the cream, stirring constantly to incorporate2 tbsp heavy cream
- To serve, add the chops back to the pan to warm them up a bit and to get them nice and saucy. Serve with the saucy apples and shallots