Pork chops with applesauce is an old standby, for sure. But if you’re looking for a new take on that delicious combo, look no further. A rub with a hint of mustardy spice, crisp fried sage leaf garnish, and warm applesauce served on the side make this a welcome, and easy, weeknight upgrade.
Here, a simple dry rub seasons the meat with extra flavor, and applesauce makes an ideal condiment. For a twist on the garnish, fry the sage leaves in hot oil until crisp.–Lisa Atwood
Pork Chops with Applesauce
- In a small bowl, combine the black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and mustard. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir to mix well.
- Rub the chops on both sides with the spice mix. If desired, place the chops on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day (remove the chops from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before roasting).
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In an ovenproof skillet over high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chops and sear, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Move the skillet to the oven. Roast the chops until the juices released when pierced with a knife are rosy, or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a chop away from the bone registers 145° to 150°F (63° to 65°C), 13 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over low heat, warm the applesauce.
- Arrange the chops an a warmed platter or individual plates and garnish with the sage leaves, if desired. Pass the warmed applesauce at the table.
*How do I cook pork chops without drying them out?Pork chops are notoriously easy to cook until they’re a dry, flavorless, tough piece of meat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have a few options to keep ’em juicy. The best place to start is with buying your chops—bone-in pork chops with a nice bit of marbled fat throughout will make a big difference in both moisture and flavor. Letting your meat rest will give it a chance to reabsorb some of those juices, too. This means letting it come to room temp before cooking, as well as letting your cooked chops rest before serving. Finally—and we know how often we say this—a meat thermometer is one of your best investments in the kitchen. A little poke never hurt anyone!
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I was interested to make this recipe because it was quite simple, the chops were something I had already, and wondered if I could improve on what I was already doing. I loved the simplicity of this recipe for pork chops with applesauce and that it had few ingredients. If I was making the recipe again, I'd fry the sage leaves in butter, rather than in oil, for extra richness.
I served the chops with gravy, applesauce, mashed potatoes, peas, sweetcorn, and rose wine (white zinfandel). This recipe basically details how I would cook pork chops—a quick sear on top of the cooker and then cook the meat more thoroughly in the oven. I liked the addition of the applesauce and the fried sage leaves. I'd do these additions again. If you're unsure how to go about cooking chops then I think this is a good method to follow.
Although the pairing of pork and apples is anything but new, this recipe for pork chops with applesauce somehow elevates both to another level of elegance. Could it be the simple tangy rub? Perhaps. Or is it the crispy fried sage leaves topping it all? Could be. In the end, I think it's the simple combination of it all. Proof that you really can't go wrong with simple, quality ingredients, tried-and-true cooking methods, and classic flavor combinations.
I liked the idea of combining a pinch of cayenne with the peppercorn-mustard rub--it gave the peppery crust a bit of heat which I liked. My pork chops each weighed 8 oz., and I had homemade applesauce in the freezer that I'd made a few weeks back, so I thawed that and used it here. I did opt for the crispy fried sage leaves and think that it should be a requirement for the recipe! It really added a last-minute pop of flavor and color to the plate, as well as texture to the tender pork and smooth applesauce. I served my pork chops with the applesauce, some haricots verts with a bit of feta, and some caramelized onion mashed potatoes. This dinner was a real hit.
Originally published May 16, 2021