Pork Chops with Apples and Cider

Photo Credit: Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Recipe by David Tanis. Featured in: A Taste Of Fall In A Bottle Of Hard Cider. There are some culinary combinations that cannot be improved upon, and apples and pork is surely one of them. This recipe calls for pan-frying boneless pork chops and serving them with butter-browned apples and a Normandy-style sauce made with cider and cream. It makes for a perfect cold weather meal.

Serve with Tieton Dry, Sparkling Perry or Yakima Valley Dry Hopped Cider

Yields: 4 to 6 servings For the Spiced Salt ¼teaspoon black peppercorns 3cloves 4 allspice berries 2 tablespoons roughly chopped sage 1 and 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt For the Pork and Sauce 6 boneless pork chops, 4 ounces each, about 1/2-inch thick 2 large apples 2 tablespoons butter All-purpose flour, for dusting ½cup hard cider, plus 2 tablespoons 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth 2 teaspoons potato starch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water 3 tablespoons crème fraîche 1 tablespoon Calvados, apple brandy or Cognac, optional 2 tablespoons finely cut chives 2 tablespoons chopped parsley Make the spice salt: Put peppercorns, cloves, allspice and sage in a spice mill or mortar and grind to a powder. Remove to a bowl and stir in salt. Season pork chops on both sides with salt mixture. (There will be some salt mixture remaining; use it to season the sauce, Step 4.) Cover and leave chops at room temperature to absorb seasonings for at least 30 minutes. Peel, quarter and core apples, then cut each apple into 12 wedges. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a wide skillet and raise heat to medium-high. Add apple wedges in one layer and brown gently on one side, about 2 minutes. Brown on the other side and cook for 2 minutes more, or until apples are cooked through but still firm. Remove apples from pan and keep warm. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and swirl to melt. Dust pork chops with flour, and place in pan and brown gently for about 4 minutes per side. Adjust heat if necessary to keep pork from cooking too quickly. Remove chops and keep warm on a platter in a low oven. Discard remaining butter. Add ½ cup cider to pan, raise heat to high and cook down to a syrup. Add mustard and chicken broth, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add potato starch and stir with a wire whisk as the sauce thickens. Stir in crème fraîche. Season to taste with remaining spiced salt. Add 2 tablespoons cider and the Calvados, if using. Cook for 1 minute more. Spoon sauce over the chops, then spoon the apples around the platter. Sprinkle with chives and parsley.