Braised Pork Chops With Caramelized Cinnamon Apples, Raisins and Onions
My husband and daughter are huge fans of pork chops and although they are not always part of my own meal plan, I find myself making them at least a couple of times a week. As such, I'm always coming up with new ways to prepare them to keep myself from getting bored (I hate cooking the same over and over again). So that being said, this recipe is one of the favorites in our home. I hope that you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Tallow (I save it from my bone broth) or avocado oil
2 organic pork chops, bone in
1 onion, sliced
1 apple, peeled (I used Fuji), cubed
Organic Seedless Raisins (optional)
Sugar (this is optional, but if you do use sugar, I suggest that you only use raw, organic cane sugar)
Coarse Sea Salt
Organic garlic powder
Fresh ground pepper
1/2-1 tsp Ceylon Cinnamon Powder (the true, real cinnamon)
1. Heat up your cast iron pan (I am in LOVE with my Staub skillets, by the way, a less expensive, more functional and attractive alternative to Le Creuset. They brown everything beautifully and are a cinch to clean up).
2. Generously season your pork chops with coarse sea salt, garlic powder and freshly ground pepper
3. Melt the tallow in the skillet (or add the avocado oil) and get it hot.
4. Carmelize the onions. Add the onion slices to the hot skillet and stir to coat them with the oil/tallow. Spread out the onions evenly over the pan, reduce the heat to medium and let them cook, stirring occasionally to make sure they don't burn or dry out. It takes about 30-45 minutes to fully caramelize onions, but if you don't have that kind of time, you can do it in about 15-20 minutes by just adding a dash of sugar (less than 1/4 of a tsp per onion). If you notice the onions drying out, you can add just a little water to the pan. Click here for a detailed tutorial on caramelizing onions.
5. After about 10 minutes of cooking the onions (if you're doing it the fast way/ or 30 minutes if you're doing it the slow way), add the cubed apples and raisins. Stir them in with the onions and let them cook until they are browned and soft. If they are drying out, you can add just a smidgeon of water to the pan.
6. You can use the same pan or a different one for your pork chops and add them when your apples are just about finished (you can test them with a fork to make sure that they are soft). I buy my chops from Grassland Beef (these are really the best tasting pork chops I've come across and have NO additives) and they are always the same size (about 6oz) and small enough to throw onto the same skillet, which allows them to absorb some the yummy flavors of the onions and apples (if your pork chops are on the larger side or if you are uncomfortable with the timing, use a separate skillet, get it hot, add the tallow or avocado oil and then add the chops) . I turn the heat up to high to get the skillet hot again, move the onions and apples to the side (don't forget to stir these often, especially after you turn up the heat), add more tallow or oil and throw on the chops. Cooking times depend on the thickness of your pork chops. I buy the organic ones from Whole Foods and they take about 4-5 minutes per side. Note: Pork chops are like chicken. Timing them can be tricky. You want to make sure you cook them all the way through, but take them off the heat before they dry out.
7. If you notice the onions and apples starting to burn, take them out of the skillet and reserve until the pork chops are finished cooking.
8. Once your pork chops are nicely browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside (you can always make a little cut near the bone with a sharp knife to check), remove them from the pan and throw the apples and onions on for just a minute or two to heat them back up.
9. Place the pork chop on a bed of a bed of either mashed potatoes (if your husband, like mine, is a meat and potatoes kinda guy), some delicious cracked freekeh (pictured), or a bed of spinach that has been steamed or sautéed with garlic (if you want to keep it paleo.
10. Return to your skillet with the apples and onions and use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Add just a little balsamic vinegar or wine to help deglaze the pan and give the mixture a little added flavor.
11. Add the cinnamon to the apples, onions and raisins, mix well in the skillet, and then spoon these out and add to the top of your chops and serve.