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Pork Chops with Horseradish Applesauce

Sweet, tart applesauce balanced with spicy horseradish is an unusually good accent for seared pork chops. Sautéed shaved brussels sprouts add good color and nutrients to the plate. Sliced pears and cheese are the perfect finale.

Ingredients:

  • 2 center-cut pork loin chops, each 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp. cream-style horseradish
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Directions:

Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, and then with 1 1/2 tsp. each of the rosemary and sage. In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, horseradish and sugar and stir to blend.

In a heavy fry pan over high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, turning the chops once, until the meat feels firm but not hard when pressed and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 145°F, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a warmed plate and cover with aluminum foil.

Pour off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan. Set the pan over medium heat, add the shallot and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the vermouth, broth and the remaining 1/2 tsp. each rosemary and sage. Boil until syrupy, about 2 minutes, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the pan bottom.

Return the chops to the pan and turn them a few times to absorb the flavors. Transfer the chops to warmed plates and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve immediately with the applesauce. Serves 2.

Quick tips: For succulent pork chops, make certain they sizzle both while browning and after they are covered, adjusting the heat as needed. Don’t overcook the pork or it will be dry; test it with an instant-read thermometer to be sure. A quick sauce made in the pan in which the pork was cooked takes advantage of the delicious pan drippings—you don’t want to waste them.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Williams-Sonoma, 2011).