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Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Apricot-Caramel Sauce

 1 Ratings
1 Comments
  • Prep Time 60 min
  • Total Time 60 min
  • Servings 4
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Dinner ready in an hour! Enjoy these tasty roasted pork chops recipe – a delightful meal.

Ingredients

Sauce

1/4
cup sugar
1
tablespoon water
1
medium Golden Delicious apple or other sweet crisp apple, finely chopped (1 cup)
1
medium onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
2
cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4
teaspoon ground cinnamon
3
tablespoons cider vinegar
1 3/4
cups apple cider
3/4
cup chicken broth
2
dried bay leaves
1
fresh thyme sprig
1/2
cup apricot preserves
3
tablespoons cold firm butter, cut into 3 pieces

Pork Chops

3
slices thick-cut bacon
4
pork loin or rib chops, about 1 1/4 inches thick (1 1/2 lb)
1/4
teaspoon salt
1/4
teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  • 1 In 10-inch skillet (preferably nonstick), mix sugar and water with wooden spoon. Heat over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, without stirring, until sugar turns dark golden brown and just begins to smoke (do not allow to burn). Remove from heat.
  • 2 Add apple, onion, garlic and cinnamon to skillet and stir to coat (sugar may clump and harden at first but will melt again when heated). Return to heat and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until some liquid escapes from mixture.
  • 3 Remove from heat and add vinegar (avert your head; the fumes from the vinegar can take your breath away). Stir and return to heat. Slowly stir in apple cider and broth (sugar may clump—that is okay, it will melt). When all liquids have been added, add bay leaves and thyme.
  • 4 Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half.
  • 5 Meanwhile, heat oven to 375°F. In 10-inch ovenproof skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Remove bacon from skillet; drain on paper towels, crumble and set aside. There should be about 1 tablespoon bacon drippings remaining in pan. If there is more, pour off excess; if there is less, add a little vegetable oil.
  • 6 Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Place pork in bacon drippings in skillet and cook 4 minutes or until brown. Flip and brown on other side, about 4 minutes longer. Cover skillet with lid or foil and place in oven. Roast 8 minutes or until slightly firm when touched and meat thermometer inserted in center reads 155°F (pork will continue to cook to 160°F when removed from oven). Remove pork from skillet and place on plate. Cover tightly with foil; set aside.
  • 7 The skillet used to cook the pork should have some cooking liquid in it. Place this skillet over medium heat. Pour the reduced sauce into skillet and stir to combine. Stir in apricot preserves and heat sauce to boiling. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Remove skillet from heat. Beat in butter, 1 piece at a time, with wire whisk, adding the next piece only after the first has been completely beaten in and melted. When all of the butter has been beaten in, taste sauce and season with salt and pepper if desired. Remove and discard bay leaves and thyme sprig.
  • 8 Place pork on warm serving plates and top with sauce. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and the parsley.

Expert Tips

Why it Works: Caramel: It’s Not Just for Dessert Anymore Frying food in oil works well because oil can be heated hot enough (350°F +) to brown meat, soften vegetables and even cause new flavors to form. Water, while great for some cooking, never gets hotter than its boiling point (212°F) and cannot develop the flavors that oil can. The boiling point of water, though, can be raised with the addition of sugar: The more sugar you add to water, the higher its boiling point. Add enough sugar and you can even heat water as hot as oil. At this temperature, sugar breaks down into caramel and turns golden brown. Vegetables, fruits and meats cooked in caramel soften, brown and acquire a deep flavor and mild sweetness.

Recipe Rx: Just Add Water Some recipes for caramelized sugar have you start with dry sugar in a pan while others, such as this one, have you add a little water. Why? Surprisingly, in order for sugar to caramelize it must be heated until all of the water is evaporated off. Therefore it seems like a step in the wrong direct to add water. Actually, the small amount of water added in this recipe is really more for security than anything else. If we just heated the sugar itself it may heat unevenly, parts of it caramelizing before the rest even heated up. The water evens out the heat by making the sugar into a syrup. That doesn’t mean that you can take your eye off of the pan. The process happens very fast, going from delicious caramel to bitter blackjack (the pastry name for burnt sugar), so watch carefully.

Nutrition Information

NUTRITION INFORMATION PER SERVING

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
580
Calories from Fat
210
% Daily Value
Total Fat
23g
35%
Saturated Fat
9g
47%
Trans Fat
1/2g
Cholesterol
105mg
36%
Sodium
600mg
25%
Potassium
690mg
20%
Total Carbohydrate
62g
21%
Dietary Fiber
2g
9%
Sugars
48g
Protein
31g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
15%
15%
Vitamin C
10%
10%
Calcium
4%
4%
Iron
15%
15%
Exchanges:
0 Starch; 0 Fruit; 4 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
4
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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