With food prices climbing and sadly stagnating wages, it’s time to go back to old favorites. Timeless dishes like pork chops and apple sauce work because they take a cheaper cut of meat and inexpensive sauce ingredients and turn them into something at once homey and special.
Take this dish.
This combines inexpensive pork chops with mustard, maple and a hit of vinegar. I serve scalloped potatoes with spinach on the side for a bit of veg, starch, and creaminess that will make you feel full on less. Instead of your boring old apple sauce, I spice it up with a little vinegar and heat.
Try it! This may be a new family fave!
Here’s How You Do It
Difficulty Level: Medium - Easy
Prep time: 10-15 Minutes
Cook Time: About 1 hour + Marinating time
4 Pork Loin Chops
2 Tablespoons Grainy Mustard
4 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
4 Tablespoons White or Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tablespoons of Maple or Pancake Syrup (which is usually corn syrup with maple flavoring but it’s cheaper and will do the job)
½ Teaspoon of Salt
¼ Teaspoon of Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Ground Sage
Vegetable or Canola Oil
2 Medium Yellow Fleshed Potatoes, thinly sliced – If you have a mandolin and know how to use it without destroying your fingers, go for it, otherwise, just slice them with a knife.
½ Cup Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
3/4 Cup Grated Cheddar Cheese – I like aged cheddar, but it’s pricey so use what you like
1 ½ Cups of Whole or 2% Milk
3 Pieces of Bacon or Prosciutto, finely chopped
1 ½ Tablespoons of All Purpose Flour
½ Teaspoon each Salt and Pepper
½ Teaspoon Oregano
½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
¼ Cup of Apple Sauce – Store bought or homemade, either is fine
3 Tablespoons of Vinegar
Hot Sauce, to taste
1 Frying Pan
1 Medium Pot
1 Zip Top Bag
1 Wooden Spoon
1 Regular Bowl
1 Regular Spoon
Measuring Cups and Spoons
1 Knife and Cutting Board
1 Small Baking Pan or Loaf Pan
In a regular bowl combine all the syrup, mustards, salt, pepper, vinegar, and sage and mix well with a spoon.
Dump half the mixture into your zip top bag and add the pork chops.
Dump the other half of the mixture into the bag, seal it up, and squish it around in your hands to coat the chops.
Pop the bag in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
For the potatoes, preheat the oven to 325 F.
Dump the bacon or prosciutto in a pot with a cup of water.
Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
Once it’s boiling lower the heat and cook until the water has evaporated. This will allow the fat to render a bit.
Add the flour and whisk until the fat has absorbed it.
When the flour starts brown a bit, whisk in the milk, mixing vigorously to dissolve any lumps.
Add the oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to thicken and starts to coat the spoon.
Stir in the grated cheese and mix gently until the cheese is melted.
Stir in the spinach.
Grease your baking pan with a little vegetable oil and put a layer of potatoes in the bottom.
Top with a layer of the spinach and cheese mixture.
Top with another layer of the potatoes and repeat the process, finishing with a layer of sauce.
Cover the pan with foil, stick it in the oven and walk away for 35 minutes.
Remove the foil, turn the oven up to 350 oF and walk away for another 25 minutes or until a fork slides easily into the potatoes when you stab them.
Take them out of the oven but don’t turn the oven off.
Let it rest for 10 minutes.
While the potatoes are resting, prep your pork.
Heat a frying pan on medium high and add a little oil to the pan.
Add your pork chops and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
Turn off the heat and stick the pan in the oven for another 5 minutes.
Put the pork chops on a plate to rest and become juicy.
WITH AN OVEN MITT ON as the pan will have just come from a hot oven, put the pan back on the stove and turn it on high heat.
Add the vinegar and stir to pick up those lovely meaty bits stuck to the pan.
Dump in the apple sauce and hot sauce (if using) and stir everything to combine. Taste and adjust for vinegar and heat.
Spoon the sauce over the pork chops.
Dump some chopped green onions over the potatoes and serve with the chops.
-Samantha R. Gold
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