Saturday, October 23, 2010

Spice Rubbed Pork Loin Chops with Apple Cider Glaze

I came up with this autumnal recipe by combining two delicious recipes that came from one of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light. I cooked this on a whim, with the help of my husband, because I happened to have everything I needed already at the house.  I love keeping apples and apple cider around during the fall months, and it's a good thing, because this recipe is not only beautiful but unbelievably good! 

     We were surprised at just how much the flavor of the spices came out in the meat, which was perfect in combination with the sweet cider and honey dijon mustard glaze. When adding the cider to the pan, there was a sizzle and a huge cloud of steam that engulfed the pan!  Very dramatic and fun! Remember that if your cider cooks out before the sauce thickens, just add more cider to the pan -- you almost can't have too much.  I happened to find some fresh thyme that I added to the sauce after it reduced and thickened to a beautiful dark amber color.  I didn't let one drop of that go to waste!  The apples that I used were Jonathan apples, but, you could use other kinds of apple if you like.  Jonathan's are usually in season in the fall only.  Another thing to remember is to not stir the apple too much or they will fall apart and break down.  (They would still taste good, but not look as pretty as the half moon slices!)  I love using my cast iron skillet for recipes like this one--anytime I'm pan frying or searing meat it makes a beautiful crust on the outside and cooks everything very evenly.  I was impressed with the crispy sear that held in all of the yummy juices!

     Spice Rubbed Pork Loin Chops with Apple Cider Glaze is an amazingly good recipe, and is surprisingly easy to make!  It's easy to make, and the flavors are bold and very seasonal!  I served it with pecan, cranberry couscous and homemade sweet potato fries.  On a cool, fall evening this is the meal to enjoy!

Spice Rubbed Pork Loin Chops with Apple Cider Glaze 
     Mix together salt, pepper, ground coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl.  About 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and ground coriander, and 1/8 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg.  Rub this mixture on both sides of the pork loin chops.  Heat a large (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium high heat and swirl olive oil twice around the pan, and about 1 Tbsp. butter.  Add the pork and cook on each side for about 3 minutes each. When I turn the pork loin chops once, I turned down the heat just a little. You may be tempted to flip before the 3 minutes is up, but trust me and wait to get that great crust. Once the pork is cooked take out of the skillet and set aside. 
     Turn the heat down to medium and add 1 Tbsp. butter and about 1/2 cup of apple cider to deglaze the pan by scraping the yummy bits off the bottom.  Bits equal flavor!  Then add about one generous Tbsp. of honey dijon mustard to the pan and continue to stir. Add one sliced apple and gently stir in. Stir occasionally while it simmers. Place your pork loin chops back in the pan with the glaze during the last minute of cooking. It doesn't take long for the sauce to get  thickened and glossy.  Add as much salt and pepper as you like, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. 
     Once the sauce is nice a dark and thick, and the apples are tender you can plate it up.  I placed the pork on a bed of the couscous and then spooned the sauce over the top with the apples.  It's beautiful this way, and the couscous soaks up some of the yummy sweet flavor from the apple cider and spicy flavor from the dry-rubbed pork!  Garnish with fresh thyme.

Grocery List
Pork Loin Chops
Ground Coriander
Olive Oil
1 Apple
Apple Cider
Honey Dijon or Dijon Mustard
Fresh Thyme