BRAISED PORK CHOPS IN AN APPLE SAGE SAUCE

We have finally found a market that sells Hormone Antibiotic Free Pork - Yeahhhhh!  We have not had any pork since August when our previous meat market closed.  These were really delicious pork chops, such a treat after months with no pork.
This is a meal I have been making for what feels like forever.  Remember back in the day a recipe for pork chops with canned Cream of Mushroom Soup?  Well, for some reason, it just never really appealed to me.  This is what I always made instead.  And this many years later, I am still making it.  That tells me, it is most definitely a keeper!
3-4 pork loin chops (I prefer bone-in but these were not)
Olive oil, butter
1 large shallot
3 minced garlic cloves
1 apple, cored, then a fine dice
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp. dried rubbed sage
1 tsp. dried mustard
salt, pepper, garlic powder, 1 bay leaf
3 large crimini mushrooms, diced
splash of Balsamic Vinegar
Cornstarch and enough chicken stock for a slurry
Heat up a pan on medium heat.  Add in a drizzle of olive oil and butter.  Season chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Brown the pork chops, about 3-4 minutes per side, until just nice and caramelized.  Remove from pan and set aside, turning the heat down to medium low, and if necessary add in another knob of butter.
To the pan, add in the diced mushrooms, sauteing until golden.  Then add in the diced shallots, diced apple and garlic, stirring until translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour in the chicken stock, the bay leaf, sage and dry mustard.  Add a few splashes of Balsamic Vinegar, scraping up any brown bits in the pan.  Return the pork chops to the pan and bring to a light simmer.
Cover with a lid and simmer for 1 hour. About 15 minutes before the hour, remove the lid, turn up the heat a bit and continue to simmer the remaining 15 minutes or so, to reduce to half.  Remove the pork chops and set aside.  Turn the heat off, remove the bay leaf, and mash all of the ingredients, carefully, with a potato masher.  Return to a low/medium heat and simmer about two - five minutes.  Slowly add in the cornstarch slurry, whisking until nicely thickened.  Adjust for any seasonings.

Serve over mashed potatoes, or mashed yams is lovely too.

Ina Gawne
author

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March 7, 2011
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