Weekend Recipe: Cider-Braised Pork Chops

Photo courtesy of Cook's Country
Photo courtesy of Cook's Country

Apples and pork are always a winning pair, but apple cider and pork chops? The sweet tartness of the cider makes this America's Test Kitchen recipe stand out. Don't skip out on the apple butter either -- it adds more flavor and helps build the sauce. Enjoy!

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Cider-Braised Pork Chops
Serves 6

Chops and sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated separately for up to 2 days. To serve, heat sauce and chops together over medium heat until chops are warmed through.

6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops, about 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup apple butter
1 cup apple cider
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chops in two batches, about 4 minutes per side; transfer to plate.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot and cook onion over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, flour, and 2 tablespoons apple butter and cook until onions are coated and mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in cider and thyme, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and bring to boil. Add browned chops and any accumulated juices to pot, cover, and transfer to oven. Braise until chops are completely tender, about 1½ hours.

Transfer chops to serving platter. Strain sauce, then use a shallow spoon to skim off fat. Whisk in vinegar, parsley, and remaining apple butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing sauce at table.

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