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Dinner Tonight: Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish and Dill

Super quick and yummy recipe for pork chops from Smitten Kitchen. Kid friendly, this is a great week night recipe.

My kids love pork.  My kids love apple cider.  My kids love dill.  So of course they love Deb Perelman’s Pork Chops with Apple Cider, Horseradish and Dill.  And so does daddy.  Why didn’t I think of this combination of apple cider, apple cider vinegar, horseradish and dill? It’s sweet, yet savory and absolutely delicious.

My friend at work recommended that I make these a few weeks ago, and now they have become part of the weeknight dinner rotation.  Provided that your kids don’t drink all of the apple cider before you cook it and you have fresh dill on hand, it is easily and quickly made on a week night in 15-20 minutes flat.

To me, pork chops are a difficult meat to cook because it is a tight rope walk between bright pink undercooked gloopiness to overcooked white hockey puck.  I personally like them best when there is just a touch of pink left in them and they are utterly juicy.

Now I have made these pork chops a few times now and I’d like to place some emphasis on certain instructions so you don’t make the same missteps I have.

First, do your best to find bone in pork chops that are 1/2 an inch thick. This is not just a suggestion by Perelman, it is an important instruction.  The first time I made these I had very thin pork chops and they got overlooked.  I recommend that you reduce the time cooked in the apple cider broth to 2–3 minutes if your pork chops are on the thinner side.

The second time I had monster thick pork chops. I had to cook them longer in the broth that almost burned off by the time I was done.  And one really thick one I had to throw in the oven to finish up because I was smoking up my kitchen with burnt apple broth!  In this sort of situation, cover the broth when you cook the chops to keep the broth in if you have to cook them for a few minutes longer.

Second, do pat dry the pork chops and get that skillet smoking before dumping the salt and peppered chops into the pan. Otherwise, you won’t get the pretty browning you see in the smitten kitchen cookbook.

Third, Perelman advises that you use room temperature chops.  Translation for the weeknight cook:  make sure your chops are sufficiently defrosted or else they will cook unevenly and may require more cooking time, which will lead to a smoked out kitchen. See #1.

Fourth, your spatula is your friend here. Use it to feel out whether your chop is cooked though.  You want it firm to the touch, with just a very little give.  If it is squooshy, it needs more time. If it feels like a brick, well there is no turning back.  You’ll be eating a well done, but still flavorful pork chop. But it won’t be simply marvelous as Perelman undoubtedly intended.

Pork Chops with Cider, Horseradish and Dill

Featured in Smitten Kitchen by Deb Perelman

Prep time:  5 mins

Cook time:  10 mins

Total time:  15 mins

 

Serves: 2-4

 

Ingredients

Glaze

  • ½ cup (120 ml) cider vinegar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) hard or pressed apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) freshly grated horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Chops

  • 4 bone-in loin pork chops, ½ inch thick (1½ pounds/680 grams total), room temperature
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • t tablespoon fresh dill

 

Instructions

  1. Whisk the glaze ingredients together in a small dish, and set aside.
  2. Trim any excess fat around chops until it is but a thin ribbon, no more than ⅛ inch thick.
  3. Pat chops dry with a paper towel, and generously season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in a heavy 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the oil starts to smoke.
  5. Add the pork chops to the skillet, and cook them until they are well browned, about 3 minutes.
  6. Turn the chops, and cook 1 minute longer; then transfer chops to a plate and pour off any fat in skillet.
  7. Pour glaze mixture into the emptied skillet. Bring it to a simmer, and cook until mixture thickens enough so your spatula leaves a trail when scraped across the pan, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  8. Return the chops and any accumulated juices from their plate to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze.
  9. Cook them over medium heat in the glaze until the center of the chops registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  10. Adjust seasonings to taste.

 

Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer.  She blogs about food and entertaining at weekend table

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cliff Cuming February 05, 2013 at 07:16 AM
Julie, Is there a quick and easy way to tenderize pork chops before cooking? I enjoy chops but sometimes they are too tough. Thanks.
Julie du Pont February 05, 2013 at 11:13 PM
You can quickly brine pork chops by soaking them in a brine of a 1/4 cup salt and 4 cups water. You can also beat the chops with a mallet before cooking. Having said that, make sure your tough chops aren't really a function of overcooking them. If you do this recipe correctly, they should be really juicy without even tenderizing them. The act of simmering them in the apple cider sauce makes them really juicy. Also, keep in mind that if you aren't serving the chops immediately, they will continue to cook so take them off the heat when they are pink, not when they are already cooked all the way (and white). Hope this helps!
Glen K Dunbar February 05, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Thanks Jules You are right. This sounds great. Apple sauce on the side of course. What to serve w/them??? Also, pork needs to be cooked well sort of I read. BUT, you are correct in it is not necessary to over cook them.

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