I cooked dinner last night, hurray! It got chilly quite suddenly here in Cambridge, and I was feeling very autumnal. I strolled through Whole Foods after sending Tom off, and ended up with a pair of lovely boneless pork chops. In the back of my mind, creeping quietly closer to the front as I contemplated the meat case, were the apples and baby brussels sprouts that I’d bought at a local farm last weekend, languishing in the fridge after we abruptly went kitchenless.
I knew I wanted to cook the pork and apples together, but a conversation with my mom convinced me to cook them in the dutch over, in part to skip the extra step of browning in one pan (and washing it) and cooking in another.
[A side note: I apologize for how wretched these photos are. The current lighting situation is grim, at best, and there simply wasn’t much I could do. Suggestions for a good lighting scheme for the kitchen are welcome!]
I peeled the apples and cut them into thick slices, marveling at the lovely star pattern the cross-cut core makes. As a kid I always thought that was the coolest thing. (I didn’t get out much.)
Cored the apple slices, diced a small onion, then patted the chops dry, seasoned them and dredged them in flour. I browned them in the dutch oven while I finished up the onion.
The temperamental stove got a little excited towards the end, and the nice browned bits scorched. I let the pot cool enough to wipe it out a bit, then melted some butter, cooked the onions until they were soft, and added in the apples. After stirring them (well, nudging them) around a bit, I added about a third of a cup of sherry and let it simmer for a minute.
I added a dash of white vinegar for some bite (cider vinegar would be better but I’m all out and my brain was turned off, so I didn’t grab the sherry vinegar!) and about a cup of chicken stock. I simmered that for another minute or so, then put the pork chops in and tucked them in snugly under the apples.
I covered everything tightly and cooked on low for about 15 minutes, turning the chops once.
Meanwhile I’d cleaned the baby brussels sprouts (so wee!), trimmed them and cut them in half. I sautéed them in olive oil with lots of salt and pepper, cut side down until they were well browned, and then tossed around a bit so their backsides could brown a bit.
Overall, a big success. The pork wasn’t overcooked, but it was a bit tough–next time I’m going to make sure I don’t brown it for too long. The tang of the sherry and vinegar with the apples, alongside the pork, was delicious. I love those. I want to try making a kind of applesauce along the same lines to serve on the side another time, or with ham. Oh, and I always love brussels sprouts. I’m so happy their season has returned!
In kitchen news, I gave the counters their first coat of Danish Oil tonight, and tomorrow the fridge and dishwasher come!!