Pork Chops with Applesauce
Though delicious on its own, pork can be wonderfully accepting of flavor enhancers—fruit is the surprising and undeniable favorite.
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!