Paleo pork Normandy comes together quickly and results in juicy pork topped with apples, onions, and a gorgeous sauce made with hard cider. Make something scrumptious to go along with it because you don’t want to waste any of that spectacular braising liquid.
The first thing to know about pork is that quality is essential. For me, the choice between skipping meals and eating a genetically modified vegetable or an egg from a chicken that may have been fed grains is an easy decision. For what it’s worth, I would definitely eat the less-than-ideal veggies and egg. Life’s too short to go hungry.–Ciarra Colacino
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Paleo Pork Normandy FAQs
Is paleo pork Normandy gluten-free?
There’s no gluten in any of the ingredients, with the exception of some kinds of hard cider. So, if you’re looking to tick that specific dietary checkbox, choose gluten-free cider. You can also find low-sugar ciders too, if you want to keep it true paleo.
Why are my pork loin chops dry?
Pigs are quite a bit less fatty than they used to be and the pork loin itself is pretty lean. The absence of bone and fat means that they don’t have much protection from heat and overcooking, which is what makes them tough. Cook quickly—sear the outside, then nestle in the sauce to come up to temperature. You should find that helps them to stay juicy.
Paleo Pork Normandy
- 4 (2 lbs) boneless pork loin chops about 1-inch (25-mm) thick
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) butter or ghee divided
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion peeled and sliced 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick
- 1 large sweet apple such as Honeycrisp, cored and sliced 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
- 1 cup hard apple cider
- Chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
- Trim excess fat from the outside of the pork loin chops and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the butter or ghee and swirl the skillet to coat the bottom. Add the pork chops to the skillet in a single layer and sear until golden brown, about 5 minutes for the first side and 3 minutes for the second side. Move the pork to a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 g) butter or ghee. Once it has melted, stir in the onion, apple, bay leaf, thyme, and 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until the volume is reduced by half and the onion and apple turn a light golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Pour in the apple cider and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet.
- Nestle the seared pork loin chops into the onion mixture in the skillet. Cover, then reduce the temperature to low, and braise until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160°F (71°C) for medium-well doneness, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Allow the pork to rest for 5 to 10 minutes in the skillet (off the heat) before serving or slicing.
- To serve the pork, arrange each chop on a plate or serving dish, mound a portion of the onion and apples on top of each chop, and drizzle with braising liquid to finish. Top with parsley, if desired.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Pork chops and applesauce appeared frequently on my childhood dinner table so the pork and apple combination is tinged with nostalgia for me. This paleo version of pork Normandy has echoes of and elevates that taste memory. My chops turned out juicy and tender while the onion and apples added to each mouthful. I served this with rice and am glad I did, as it soaked up the delicious pan sauce.
Next time I may double the apple/onion mixture as it was a little skimpy for four servings. The recipe itself is straightforward with a fair amount of hands-off cooking time which allowed me time to get the rice going and put together a citrus, arugula, and raw kohlrabi salad, the two sides I served. Definitely, one I’ll make again.
Minus slicing them for autumnal salads, rarely do I think about serving apples in a savory manner. Now that I think about it, though, perhaps there’s a reason why you often see pigs on a spit with apples in their mouths—they just belong together.
This paleo pork Normandy is the perfect example of how to utilize your cast iron skillet. Not only does it hold more than enough heat to perfectly sear each side of a hearty pork chop, but it should have enough depth for a long-term braise. Braising it in hard cider is a great seasonal swap for the usual white wine, and its essence lightly penetrated the protein in such a lovely manner.
This paleo pork Normandy recipe was very easy to make and other than the hard cider, I didn’t have to buy anything special. Timings were spot on, and the result was delicious–certainly something I’d make again, for guests or the family.
This recipe produces some very tasty pork chops. My in-house pork chop consultant (aka my husband) loved this and is looking for another round. I served the chops with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, and brussels sprouts. The recipe is relatively simple and can be easily prepared for a week-night treat.
Originally published November 9, 2021