I’m always looking for ways to make pork chops acceptable to my family. As a meat they tend to be on the tough to chewy side, but are a leaner version of pork, come with a reasonable price tag, and are good at taking on a variety of flavors. I have found that the key to a good pork chop is tenderizing, plenty of time for marinating, and avoiding overcooking. The following recipe is sweet with a little bit of spice and heat. The heat can be adjusted by eliminating the cayenne pepper to accommodate to the tastes of little ones. This recipe is also a great dish to make in double batches, cooking one now and freezing one for later.
Apple Cider Pork Chops
serves: 3-5 time: prep 15 minutes, marinate 6-8 hours, cook 15 minutes
- 3-5 boneless pork chops
- 1 cup organic apple cider
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin unfiltered olive oil
- 3 Tbsp of local honey
- 3 medium cloves of fresh minced garlic (or 1 tsp dry)
- 1 Tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper (just use half of a 1/8 tsp to measure)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp GMO free cornstarch
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, honey, garlic, Dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and cornstarch.
2. Measure 3/4 cup of marinade into a small sauce pan, add golden raisins, and cover. Place sauce pan in the refrigerator and allow the golden raisins to marinate and become plump while the pork marinates. Set aside remaining marinade in a mixing bowl for pork.
3. Tenderize pork chops. To do this, place them on a cutting board, cover them with plastic wrap, and pound with the flat side of a tenderizer. The plastic wrap will prevent juices from splashing you while you work. Tenderize the pork chops until they are approximately two-thirds of the their original thickness, flipping once during the process, as seen below.
4. Place pork into marinade in mixing bowl and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. If you work or have a busy day ahead, this is ideal to prep in the morning, making dinner prep much easier at the end of a tiring day.
5. Remove pork and the sauce pan with raisins from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking and allow both items to come to room temperature. Cook the pork on a grill or on a stove-top griddle on medium-high heat, flipping and basting with leftover marinade midway. Depending on the size of your pork chops, you will only need to cook them 3-5 minutes on each side. The pork is done when there is a small amount of pale pink in the center with white outer edges.
6. Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes on a plate while you place the saucepan with the marinade and raisins on medium heat. Simmer and stir frequently until sauce is heated through and thickened. Pour sauce over pork and serve immediately.
This recipe pairs well with my Apple-Stuffed Acorn Squash and a side salad.