A tasting of several hard ciders not long ago got me thinking about how to cook with them.
Bottled hard ciders, once the favored drink of the Colonies, have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. From mass-produced to small-batch artisanal, the bottles have been muscling their way onto store shelves.
To put the appley drink to work in the kitchen, a simple approach would be to reduce it, then sauce a meat dish. And what meat goes better with the flavor of apples than pork?
A little thinking (why not some sliced dried apples, too?), a little tinkering (a touch of whipping cream would enhance the body), and dinner was born. Look for drier or sweeter hard ciders as suits your taste. Either would work well here. Serve with steamed kale sauteed with a little garlic.
Tips: Switch the flavor by subbing in hard pear cider and dried pears.
Although we use chops, this approach would work well for pork tenderloin or pork loin as well.
Pork Chops with Cider and Apples
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 center-cut boneless pork chops, 6-7 ounces each
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 shallots, minced
2 cups hard or sweet cider
1 cup dried apple slices
3 tablespoons whipping cream
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; season chops with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Cook chops in skillet, turning once, until browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from skillet.
Add shallots to skillet; cook over medium heat until translucent, 2 minutes. Add cider; heat to a simmer. Add apple slices; cook until apples are soft and cider is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Stir in cream, mustard and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; cook until slightly thickened. Taste sauce for seasoning. Return chops to skillet; heat until cooked through. Makes: 4 servings.
Per serving: 441 calories, 46 percent of calories from fat, 23g fat, 8g saturated fat, 105mg cholesterol, 31g carbohydrates, 28g protein, 729mg sodium, 2g fiber.