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Story - Food

Oct 11, 2019 12:24 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Apples And Pork Chops For A Crisp Fall Night

Circa 2019 Spinach, Apple and Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops JANEEN SARLIN
Oct 14, 2019 11:48 AM



When the apples were ripe enough to pick in the fall, fried pork chops and homemade applesauce was on the menu for dinner at the family farm. Mom served boiled potatoes topped with chopped parsley with the chops because dad loved to spoon the pan gravy over the potatoes but we kids preferred butter on them. We all loved the applesauce!

Here’s my autumnal menu. My version of pork chops stuffed with apple, spinach and mushrooms are not breaded or fried with pan gravy. These chops are marinated overnight, stuffed with vegetables, quickly seared and baked with applejack. The results? Moist, tender, flavorful pork chops. Cauliflower rice is the substitute for potatoes (I love potatoes too, but not for this menu!) It’s stir-fried with lots of vegetables. Complete the main course with a colorful new twist on Waldorf salad. Bon appetit!

Circa 2019 Spinach, Apple And Mushroom Stuffed Pork Chops

(Serves 4)

4, 1-inch thick pork chops, trimmed and side muscle scored

For the marinade:

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

About 2/3 cup applejack or Calvados

For the pork chop filling:

About 2 teaspoons olive oil

3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

6 to 7 cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

3/4 tart firm red apple, cored, and finely diced

Sea salt and pepper to taste

Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Optional: 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

For the baking pan:

1 medium onion, sliced thin

1 firm red tart apple, cored and sliced

About 3/4 cup Applejack calvados, or chicken stock

To finish the sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 fresh sprigs rosemary for garnish

To prepare: One day ahead

Pat pork chops dry with paper towel, remove the excess fat and score the membrane along the outer edge of each chop. With a sharp knife, cut a deep slit into the center of the meat, creating a horizontal “pocket” in the center for the filling. Arrange the chops in a single layer in a shallow glass dish and season with salt, pepper and rosemary. Smear both sides of the chops with mustard, add applejack, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Turn over once or twice.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a skillet over moderate heat, coat the pan with oil, add scallions and sauté briefly. Raise the heat, add mushrooms and sauté until they are brown and tender, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add apple to the mixture and sauté until crunch tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Add lemon juice a few drops at a time, tasting after each addition to balance the flavors. Swirl in butter. Set aside and cool completely.

About one hour before serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Lightly coat the bottom a non-reactive baking pan/dish that will hold the chops in one layer. Scatter onion and apple slices in the pan and set aside.

Remove pork chops from the marinade; discard the marinade and place chops on a cutting board. Open the “pocket” and push about 1 tablespoon chilled stuffing inside, pressing the edges together with your fingers. Do not over stuff them.

In a skillet over high heat, coat the bottom with oil. Holding each chop with tongs, sear the scored edges until they are brown. Next, sear one side until browned, about 3 minutes, turn and sear the other side in the same fashion. Transfer and arrange the chops on the apples in the baking dish. Pour applejack around the edges, cover with parchment paper and tightly seal with aluminum foil.

Bake covered for 20 minutes, turn chops over and continue baking until the meat is tender, or the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees F. on an instant read meat thermometer. Spoon apples/onions on a platter and top with stuffed pork chops, pass the aux jus at the table.

Stir Fried Cauliflower Rice

(Serves 4)

1 head cauliflower, washed and core removed, divided into florets

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 2 large cloves)

1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 orange bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup blanched green beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1/3 cup water or vegetable stock

Optional: few pinches red pepper flakes

About 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

To prepare:

Working in the food processor fitted with the stainless steel blade, add the florets and process until it looks like rice.

In a large skillet over moderate heat, coat the pan with oil and when hot, add onion, scallions and garlic and sauté until aromatic and beginning to soften.

Add bell peppers and sauté until they are tender. Raise the heat and add “riced” cauliflower and continue stir-frying a few minutes. Stir in green beans, salt and pepper and continue cooking, adding water or stock if necessary until all the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with parsley.

Autumnal Salad

(Serves 4)

1/2 head Romaine lettuce, washed and cut into chiffonade

1 small head butter or Boston lettuce or spinach

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 small crisp red skinned apples, washed, cored, and thinly sliced and rolled in lemon juice

8 prunes cut in thirds

1/3 cup toasted salted pumpkin seeds

Optional: Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded — about 1/3 cup

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon mustard

2 teaspoons honey or more to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more as needed

To prepare:

In a salad bowl, toss romaine and Boston lettuce together with red onion until well mixed.

Core the apples and cut into thin slices. Roll in lemon juice to prevent discoloration and set aside. Cut the prunes and set aside. Shred cheese and set aside.

Prepare the salad dressing, whisk the mustard and honey together with the vinegar until blended. Add lemon juice from apples, whisk well. Stir in pepper. Slowly add oil in a thin stream, whisking until the mixture is an emulsion. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

To assemble and serve, coat the apples with a tablespoon or two of dressing, toss with the lettuce, adding more dressing as necessary to lightly coat the leaves. Divide the salad among four salad plates; garnish with prunes, seeds, and cheese.

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