Kena’s Seared Pork
I’m still a bit reeling from all the emails, messages, and congratulations from Food Fighters on Tuesday!
I was mentally prepared to be electronically lambasted with negative comments from people I didn’t know.
That did not happen. 99% of the comments I’ve read and received have been genuinely nice. Sometimes the Internet is fun.
Enough of that though. Let’s talk pork. This Pork Chops with Apples dish from Kena won the poll by a landslide last week and I was happy to try it out. While I’m usually a fan of bone-in pork chops, the boneless chops work a bit better for this dish. They are easier to glaze and slice and the finished dish looks really elegant and tastes delicious.
I can completely see why this dish won the day!
For onions and apples, slice them thin. In a medium skillet or pot over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and add onions. Cook until they start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add apples and cook until the veggies start to darken in color. Add cider, stock, and a dash of worcestershire sauce. Cook until liquid is mostly evaporated and stir in butter at the end.
For cherry sauce, add all ingredients to a small pot over medium-low heat. Warm to combine ingredients and thicken sauce.
For pork, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir together tarragon, garlic, hoisin sauce, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large oven-safe pan or skillet. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear pork for 2-3 minutes per side.
Brush pork with the hoisin sauce mixture and bake for about 6 minutes until pork is cooked through. A little pink on the inside is fine. The temperature should be 140-145 in the middle of the pork.
Let pork rest briefly, slice and serve over the onions and apples with cherry sauce and chives on top!
Pork Chops with Apples
Onions and Apples
The pork for this Pork Chops with Apples dish is served on a bed of browned, caramelized onions and apples that get cooked down with apple cider and some butter. What’s not to love about that?
Slice the apple and onions on the thin side and get them started in some olive oil over medium heat. You don’t want to cook them too hot (especially if you aren’t on the clock) because they might burn. You want them to slowly brown.
Adding the apple cider and worcestershire sauce will speed up the cooking some and once all the liquid is reduced you should have a really nice pot of veggies. These end up being sweet and savory and the perfect side for the pork.
I would say I cooked these for 15 minutes to get to this color.
The pork ends up being very savory so it helps to have some spice and sweetness on top. Cherries go beautifully with pork so mixing some cherry preserves with hoisin sauce, chili garlic sauce, and apple cider is a great topping choice.
Cooking the Pork
After Kena’s Food Fight against Cat Cora there were SO many comments about how the pork looked undercooked.
You can and should serve lean pork (like chops and loin) medium. That means there should be a little pink on the inside. Specifically, the USDA recommends hitting a temperature of 145 degrees F. but I actually try to shoot for about 140 and then let the pork rest for a few minutes and it will continue to cook and get to 145 degrees.
Cat Cora’s pork was maybe undercooked a bit, but it’s okay to have a little pink in your pork.
First things first though. I like to season my pork with salt and pepper. This is a departure from Kena’s version but I guess it’s impossible for me to follow a recipe perfectly.
Then you want to sear the pork for 2-3 minutes per side in a hot oven safe skillet with olive oil.
This will get a nice crust on the pork but it’s still mostly raw on the inside.
While the pork is searing, whisk together the hoisin sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh tarragon, and garlic. Brush this deliciousness on the pork after it sears.
Then transfer the pork chops to the oven (425 degrees) and let them roast for about six minutes. That should be enough to cook the pork through, but if you have really big chops you’ll need to add on some time.
As always, I recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure you hit the temp you are shooting for.
Once the pork comes out, let it rest for a few minutes.
Then I like to slice the pork and serve it on top of the apple/onion mixture. Drizzle some cherry sauce over the top and sprinkle with some fresh chives!
It’s a beautiful and delicious dish!
These Pork Chops with Apples would be really tasty in the fall when apples are at their prime.
I can totally see why this dish won though. It’s tough to beat the flavor combo going on here. All the elements are really great on their own and pair perfectly together!