Pork with Apple Thyme Sauce is a new take on old-fashioned fried pork loin chops. Many of us were raised with applesauce as a condiment for pork dishes. This recipe incorporates a fresh applesauce into the pan gravy with the delicious complementary flavor of thyme.
Unlike in Grandma’s day, pork does not need to be dry and over-cooked to shoe leather consistency. Be careful with your timing. The pork should just barely give when pressed with the back of a fork, and should have a faint blush of rose color when cut. Never cut or pierce the meat to check for doneness. Doing so allows all those delicious juices to run out and dries out the meat.
Use boneless pork loin chops, which are fairly inexpensive. The rosier the color, the leaner the meat. For the most tender chops, choose cuts that are lighter in color, hopefully with some marbling. If not, you may wish to tenderize the chops before you begin. Check out my article on the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin, as well as my favorite meat tenderizer and method.
Pork with Apple Thyme Sauce Recipe
Pork and Marinade:
4 boneless pork loin chops, each should be 1 inch thick (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Grated zest of one lemon, divided use
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
4 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme (or one teaspoon dried thyme)
16 whole black peppercorns
6 Tablespoons cider vinegar
4 medium-sized firm, tart apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
2 Tablespoons butter, divided use
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 sprigs fresh thyme, for garnish (optional)
In a large heavy-duty freezer ziptop bag, combine white wine or vermouth, vegetable oil, thyme, half of the lemon zest, and black pepper. Squish to combine. Add pork to the marinade in the bag, squeeze out the air, and seal. Turn bag to distribute the marinade evenly around the pork. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours. Remove meat from refrigerator and let rest at room temperature in the marinade for 1 hour before cooking.
Dissolve the sugar in the water over low heat in a medium saucepan. Add thyme, peppercorns, remaining lemon zest, and vinegar. Stir and simmer uncovered over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add apples and simmer another 10 minutes until apples are soft, but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon, remove apples to a food processor. (Save the liquid.) Pulse apples until smooth.
Boil reserved apple cooking liquid until reduced to 1 cup. Strain liquid, discarding solids, and add the liquid syrup to the apple puree. Set aside.
Remove pork chops from marinade, discard marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Heat a large, heavy, hard-anodized or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and the oil to the hot pan, swirling to combine. Add pork chops and cook about 4 minutes on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan (if necessary, cook in batches) and do not overcook. Remove pork to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Cook to reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons, lower heat, and add the apple puree. Heat about 1 minute until warmed through. Return pork loin chops to the pan along with any accumulated juices from the platter. Heat about 2 minutes. Remove pork loin chops to serving dishes. Quickly swirl remaining tablespoon of butter into the apple pan gravy.
To serve, spoon apple thyme pan gravy over the pork and garnish with a thyme sprig.
Yield: 4 servings
Pork with Apple Thyme Sauce Recipe Photo © 2017 Peggy Filippone