I love love love to cook. Almost as much as I love to eat. And I plan to subject you to the details of many a delicacy on this here blog. Starting with this one!
The first day of fall was just a few days ago, and while the weather in sunny Los Angeles isn’t quite cooperating yet, I’m willing it into my world little by little. This recipe is insanely easy, requiring only 4 ingredients, 30 minutes prep time, and 3 patient hours of waiting. The pork chops slowly roast/steam/braise over the aromatic bed of apples and onions that are slowly caramelizing in their bath of brown sugar… imparting a sweet, savory, meaty flavor that screams of crisp autumn nights. The wait for this meal is worth it, and while it happily cooks away in your oven, it smells like fall is having a party in your kitchen. And when it’s done? The pork literally falls apart at the touch of a fork. Tender, juicy, comforting, and delicious.
The slaw is a perfect side for this dish, providing a nice delicate crunch alongside the tender pork and melted apples and onions. The earthy flavors in the sprouts and fennel complement the pork and apples perfectly, and rounds out the plate with a pretty, textured greenness.
What you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
2. Prep your onions, and lay them out in an even layer on the bottom of your dish. (I use a 9×13 pyrex baking dish for this, which fits everything perfectly.)
3. Do the same with the apples, on top of the onion. Yes, there will be more apples than onions. It’s better that way.
4. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the two layers.
5. Lay your seasoned pork chops over all that goodness, leaving a little space between each one.
6. You can optionally add a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper if you want to throw a little heat into the mix. Which I always do.
7. Cover the whole dish tightly with aluminum foil, and pop it into the oven.
8. Occupy yourself for the next 3 hours. Do not phutz with the dish. Do not lift the foil to peek in on your food baby. Just let it cook in peace, and enjoy the heavenly scent.
Hint: this is a good time to prep the salad, so it has plenty of time to marinate and become tasty deliciousness. Here’s how you do that!
What you do:
1. Shave it all up. Shave it good. You can use a knife, or my preferred instrument, a mandoline slicer. I also use a cut-resistant glove whenever thinly slicing anything, because I learned my lesson when I cut off my fingertip that one time. It especially makes using a mandoline way easier and safer.
2. Mix it all up. Mix it good.
3. Add the lemon juice and mayo and stir it up good.
4. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Cover, put in the fridge, and let the flavors make sweet love for a couple hours. It will soften the vegetables and improve as time passes.
And in this instance, I added a splash of apple cider vinegar to create continuity of flavor between the two dishes. But that’s optional.
Behold! The finished product!