Apple-marinated pork chops.

Sooo, new cookbook? New recipes! A particularly good cookbook it is: The Commonsense Kitchen: 500 recipes + Lessons for a Handcrafted Life by Tom Hudgens (Chronicle Books, 2010). A beautifully pictureless thick brick of a cookbook -- I LOVE IT! Bibliophile Friday just turned into Bibliophile-any-day-of-the-week-I-darn-well-please... And my first recipe attempt out of it was a huge success, so I am going to share it with you. !

Apple-Marinated Pork Chops
adapted from The Commonsense Kitchen -- prepare 1 day ahead, serves 3

3 center-cut pork chops, about 1-in thick, a little fat left on
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 flavorful apple (I used Gala), unpeeled, thinly sliced
1/4 small red onion (sweet, or go for yellow), thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider

Rub the pork chops with salt and pepper. Place the apple slices over the top and the bottom surfaces of each chop, put the chops in a shallow bowl, and scatter the onion over them. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down on the surface of the chops, and refrigerate overnight.

Set them out at room temperature about an hour before cooking. Remove and reserve the apples and onions. Pat the chops dry with a paper towel.

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heart and brown the chops for about 4 minutes on each side, or just until they feel firm when pressed with a finger (the ones I got were even thicker than an inch, so they took quite a bit longer. Just keep an eye, don't get impatient and turn the heat up). If they don't seem cooked, continue cooking for a few minutes more on lower heat. They are thoroughly cooked, but still juicy, when they have reached an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. Remove the chops to a clean plate.

Get the skillet heated back up on medium-high heat, and pour off any fat left in the skillet. Add the apples and onions and pour in the apple cider. Bring to a boil, scraping the browned, flavorful bits from the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spoon and letting them dissolve in the cider (I used a nonstick skillet and there wasn't much of this to be had). After everything has boiled for about a minute, strain out the apples and onions if desired -- but they're good in too! Boil until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup, just a few tablespoons. Pour over the warm chops and serve.

I like to use the paper they wrap the meat in at the counter as a work surface. Rub in the salt and pepper; use a chopping board to cut up all the apples and onions.

Layer thin slices of a sweet, crispy apple over the top and bottom surfaces... I chose a Gala apple because it's super sweet.

The Commonsense Kitchen calls for yellow onions, but I'm a through-and-through red onion fan. I love how sweet they are, and I was looking for sweet pork chops. Plus, they're just nice to look at. ;)

Brown the pork chops in a pan -- these chops were really hefty, so they took a bit of time to cook, but the heat was low and they remained juicy inside.

Boiling the apple cider with the apple and onion made a marvelous, thin syrup. I didn't want to throw any of the apple or onions out -- I thought it would be even better to pair with the pork than just the syrup alone. I wasn't disappointed.

Yum-yummy. :D Enjoy!

...I'm off to the midnight showing of the very. last. Harry Potter movie. There are some pretty die-hard fans I'm going with -- Should be a fun (long..) night. Much to report, I'm sure. ;)

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