The leaves are falling, SEC college football has started, and it’s almost time to dig out the sweatshirts….oh wait…I’m in Alabama-it’s 92 degrees! Oh well, sweatshirt or shorts-apples are in season and I’m dreaming of all things apples.
Head over here for my Shortcut Caramel Apple Pie (Galette) recipe. No need to wait til Thanksgiving for this American classic. But not all apple recipes are dessert.
In the South, fried apples are considered a side dish and not necessarily a dessert. If you’ve ever been to Cracker Barrel restaurant, then you know they are one of the side dish choices along with macaroni and cheese and hash brown casserole.
Pork Chops and Apples go together like peas and carrots. I’m old enough to remember the Brady Bunch episode where Peter imitated Humphrey Bogart by repeating “Pork Chops and Applesauce”. (Watch the clip here.) To this day, I have to use that voice when I say it. Anyone else remember that?
To watch my tv segment on WBRC Good Day Alabama making Pan-Seared Pork Chops and Fried Cinnamon Apples click on the pic below.
To make these super simple Pan-Seared Pork Chops, you just need one skillet. These are easy enough for weeknight meals and fancy enough for company on the weekends. Let’s get started.
For the pork chops, I like to use half vegetable oil and half butter. The vegetable oil has a higher smoke point but the butter just plain tastes good.
While the butter melts and the skillet heats up, sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. When the skillet is hot, swirl the butter and vegetable oil together to combine them. Place the pork chops in the skillet. Mine were a little too close but they turned out fine. Overcrowding can prevent them from getting a good sear on them.
The key to searing the pork chops is a hot skillet (but not too hot) and not turning the chops until at least 2 minutes and really 3 if they are bone-in chops.
Remove the pork chops to a plate. What you are left with are tasty little browned bits…..that are stuck to the skillet like cement, right? Don’t worry, it’s an easy fix and a yummy one, too. Keep the burner on and pour 1/3 to 1/2 cup apple juice or cider in the skillet. Almost immediately, the bits will magically release from the skillet. This is technically called deglazing the pan. I use a flat wooden spoon to scrape the bits.
Increase the heat to medium-high and boil about 2 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. You want 1/4 cup reduction sauce so each pork chop (if serving 4) has 1 tablespoon. Pour the sauce over the chops and wipe out the pan with paper towels. No need to wash the pan.
An awesome shortcut to show you is to slice an apple without the pain of using one of those corer gadgets. The core always gets stuck in it and I spend too much time trying to get it out! No special equipment needed. Follow the pictures above and you can see how a few simple cuts with a sharp knife.
The apple selection right now is endless! Click here for a quick guide from Eating Well to see which apples are best for baking, cooking, and snacking. I used a combination of Pink Lady and Gala. Both are good for cooking and snacking but tend to lose their shape when cooking so I kept the peel on to help hold their shape….and also I love the added color of the peel.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet.
Add the apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. The brown sugar will melt quickly and create a caramelized sauce. You can add more than 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon but if you add too much, it starts to create a “gloopy” or stringy texture. Cinnamon is funny that way.
And that’s it! You’ve made quite an impressive Southern dish (really pretty American) in very little time. A piece of cornbread and some baby limas and dinner is served!
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- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 3 or 4 4-ounce boneless or bone-in pork chops
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
- 2 large Gala Fuji, or Golden Delicious apples
- 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until butter is melted and oil is hot. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the pork chops and place them in the skillet.
Cook pork chops 3 to 4 minutes on one side or until lightly browned. Don’t turn them until they are browned. Cook 2 minutes on the other side or until done (145 to 150 degrees). Remove the pork chops to a plate. Pour the apple juice into the hot pan. This will release the drippings and little bits on the bottom of the pan and create a sauce. Cook over medium-high heat about 2 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to 1/4 cup. Pour the sauce over the pork chops and wipe the pan out with paper towels.
Peel and slice the apples 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick or you can leave the peel on. Gala and Fuji tend to break down more so I would leave the peel on to help hold their shape. Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples are perfect for cooking so I would peel those.
Melt the butter in the same skillet and add apples. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a little bowl. This helps evenly distribute the cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, 5 to 8 minutes or until the apples are almost tender. Serve with Pan-Seared Pork Chops.