07 November, 2012

Old Fashioned Pork Chop and Thyme Apple Bake

This is my mom's recipe.  Having moved across the country from her last month, I was craving some comfort food from my childhood.  And I came across this recipe she gave me.

This is one of my favorite things she made. 
It's a wonderful recipe to incorporate those beautiful apples that are so in season right now.  

Pork does exceptionally well with almost any kind of fruit- oranges, apples, apricots, etc.  Often pork is marinated in apple juice or cider, or orange juice.  In this recipe, I didn't have time to marinate, and I'm not sure the pork needed a marinade.  The chops really soak up some of the flavor and moistness of both the apples and the baked beans.
And pork and beans is just a combination you don't question!  

For the beans, I added a few ingredients to spice them up a bit.  If short on time, you could definitely just use a can of beans without any additions (in fact my mom's original recipe used a can of beans with no additions and it was so so good).  

The bean recipe comes loosely from my future mother-in-law.  The Boyfriend loves her baked beans, and I've never been able to replicate her recipe to his approval.  Some things your mother makes, no one else can make the same, you know?  

But I tried to replicate here again today, only I didn't really remember exactly what she adds, of course.  These may not be Debbie's beans, but they turned out pretty darn good.  

So this recipe is a merging of mothers.  Home-cooked comfort food at it's finest. 
The best part is you can make this ahead of time, refrigerate, and pop it in the oven.  

Old Fashioned
Pork Chop and Thyme Apple Bake

Pork Chops
4 Pork Chops
Sea Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
2 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Baked Beans
1 55 oz can baked beans (I used Bush's Original)
2 tbsp Worcestershire
3 tbsp ketchup 
1/2 cup packed brown sugar 
1 tbsp chili powder

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced (or any tart apple)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 shallot, minced
1 tsp cloves
a few fresh springs of thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Coat the pork chops with the sea salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. In a cast iron skillet (any skillet will due but I love my cast iron) heat a few drizzles of olive oil over medium high heat.
Add the pork chops and brown both sides in skillet, cooking each side about 5 minutes. 
2.  In the meantime, put all the bean ingredients in a bowl and combine.  Pour the beans into a glass baking dish.  
3. Place browned pork chops on top of the beans, reserving the pan drippings.  Cover the dish with aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  
4. In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, and cloves. 
5. In the same skillet that the pork was cooked in, reduce heat to medium.  Add the shallots, and stir to coat. Saute for just a couple minutes. Add the apple mixture, and saute for just about 5 more minutes.  You don't want the apples completely softened here- they will soften further in the oven. This step is just searing the flavor of the pork, shallots, and sugar on the apples.
6. After the 30 minutes is up, remove pork and bean bake from the oven.  Top the pork chops with the sauteed apples. Top the apples with whole sprigs of thyme.
7. Return to oven, cover, and bake another 30 minutes. 
8. To serve, remove and discard the thyme sprigs.  Enjoy!

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