This is comfort food if there ever was some. This dish exists because of our friends at Sewall Orchard. Mia and Bob run the oldest certified-organic orchard in the state. They produce the finest apples—heirloom and other varieties—and the season when we can get them is short. On a beautiful fall day, we put on our leather jackets and drove out in the Alfa Romeo Spider with the top down, windows up, heat on. Fall colors, great roads, great sports car. Maine. How lucky are we? I bought a boatload of apples and came up with this way to use them. Apples are always great with pork, so I doubled down with cider and cider vinegar. Mashed potatoes and kale round out a perfect fall dish.–Kerry Altiero and Katherine Gaudet
LC One Pan Versus Many Pans Note
As is inevitable when you make supper in a single pan, ingredients are going to touch and some things may be slightly less done than perfect while other things are slightly more done than perfect. It’s the trade-off for the lack of juggling and it works quite well for most of us. If, however, you’re keen on multitasking or simply prefer a kale chip that’s perfectly crisp throughout without any risk of it being soggy along an edge that flopped down into the pan sauce, even if it means another baking sheet to clean, by all means, break apart the recipe into its component parts and execute each separately. Mashed potatoes get nuked or warmed in a saucepan over very low heat. Apples and cider cook down in a small baking dish. Pork chops get transferred to the oven in the same skillet in which they were seared. Kale chips get to stretch out on their very own baking sheet. Everything takes the same time as indicated in the recipe below, but you’ll be able to pull the pork chops from the heat precisely when the pork is done to your liking and not a minute later—and without having to extricate them from beneath a layer of kale. It’s just a matter of priority and personal preference. Either way, we think you’re going to find this spectacle of autumn goodness quite lovely and worthy of repeating, whichever way you get it to the table.
Roast Pork Chops
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 45 M
- Serves 2 to 4
- 1 1/2 cups (363 grams) mashed potatoes
- 2 apples, preferably Gala, halved or quartered and cored
- 3/4 cup (177 milliliters) apple cider, or more or less to taste
- 6 leaves kale, preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale
- Olive oil
- Two 8-ounce (227-gram) center-cut boneless pork chops
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- A drizzle cider vinegar (Sewall’s is great stuff)
- 1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (191°C).
- 2. In a 9-by-12-inch (23-by-30-centimeters) baking dish, place the mashed potatoes in a pile. Next to them place the apples, cut side up. Brush both with the oil. Pour the apple cider into the dish and turn to coat the apples. Bake until the apples begin to turn tender, at least 10 minutes and quite possibly as much as 20 minutes. They may begin to puff (don’t worry, they won’t explode, although they will eventually deflate).
- 3. Meanwhile, rinse the kale leaves and pat them completely dry. (And when we say “completely dry,” we mean all the way dry. If the kale isn’t dry, it won’t crisp properly.) Drizzle each leaf with a couple drops olive oil and, using your hands, rub to completely coat the leaf.
- 4. Pat the pork chops completely dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Heat a 9-inch (23-centimeter) heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add just enough oil to slick the surface of the skillet. Add the chops and sear, turning once, until browned but not cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat.
- 5. Remove the baking pan from the oven, push the apples to the side, and add the seared chops. Place the kale leaves in a single layer on top of the chops and potatoes and apples and return the pan to the oven to roast until the kale is dark green and begins to crisp at the edges and the pork chops are cooked through, 7 to 12 minutes.
- 6. When the chops are done, the apples tender, the kale crisp, and the potatoes warmed through, plate them and spoon the cider over the chops and apples. Drizzle some cider vinegar over everything. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Serve with beer, preferably a hoppy IPA. Friends, all is good in this world.