Love and Olive Oil

Pork Chops with Toasted Spice Rub and Apple Dressing

Taylor sure got a treat this week: steak and pork in the same week. Very unusual in our kitchen. Maybe because I’ve always been biased against pork, and steak (at least the good pieces) are too expensive to eat on a regular basis. This is the reason you’ll always see more lentils and tofu on our plates than meat. That is, except for this week.

Taylor’s verdict: this is good. I shall not sway your opinion of this one way or another by saying what I thought of it. If you like pork, this is a great fall dish that’ll have your kitchen smelling delicious for the next few hours.

Pork Chops with Toasted Spice Rub and Apple Dressing
Pork Chops with Toasted Spice Rub and Apple Dressing

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Michael Chiarello.

For Honey Roasted Apple Sauce:
12 apples, Gravenstein or McIntosh
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
1/3 cup honey

For Spice Rub:
1/4 cup fennel seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup pure California chili powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

4 (12-ounce) center-cut pork chops
Gray salt
2 tablespoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Honey Roasted Apple Sauce, recipe follows

Make apple sauce: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Peel the apples with a vegetable peeler, remove the core and cut into 1-inch chunks, place in a large bowl. Heat a large skillet or roasting pan over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter begins to brown, add lemon juice, then add the apples and salt. Cook until the apples just begin to color, about 4 minutes. Stir in the honey. Roast the apples in the oven until soft and lightly caramelized, about 12 minutes. Fork mash for a chunky version or puree in food processor for a smoother sauce. Set aside.

Make spice rub: Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel begins to turn light brown, add the red pepper flakes, and toss several times. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.

Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.

Note: If you have an exhaust fan over your stove, turn it on before you start toasting the spices. Be careful not to inhale the fumes once you add the red pepper flakes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and toasted spice rub.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat and sear the pork chops until golden brown, about 4 minutes on 1side and 1 minute on the other side. Place pork chops on baking sheet. Remove excess oil from skillet.

Bake the chops until just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a serving platter.

Over medium heat, add the wine to the skillet, stir, and reduce to 1 to 2 tablespoons; add the apple sauce and bring to a simmer. Spoon over each chop.

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