Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grilled Pork Chops with Apples and Onion Rings

Have you ever watched the show The Best Thing I Ever Made, on Food Network? I always start drooling when that show comes on. Some of the recipes are just unrealistic for a home cook, too many ingredients that you can't find in your local market. On the other hand, some of the recipe are easy enough to make at home and come out really good.

The episode for Best Thing I Ever Made: Grilled, chef Elizabeth Faulkner made her grilled pork chops with apples and onion rings. I gave it a go, and was very satisfied with how it come out. The pork chops in particular were so flavorful. I have actually never had pork so tasty before. This is one to try! If you don't have time to make the sides, at least try the pork recipe..yum!

I did substitute a few ingredients with what I had in my pantry. I have the original recipe below, along with my substitutes in italics.

Grilled Pork Chops with Sauteed Apples and Onion Rings
Makes 3 servings

Pork Chops: 
3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon pimenton (I used smoked paprika)
4 whole cloves ( I used a 1/2 tsp ground clove)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
3 bone-in center-cut pork chops (10 to 12 ounces each) Make sure they are pretty thick

Sauteed Apples:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 whole star anise (I left this out)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brandy (I used apple juice)

Onion Rings:
2 cups canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Gluten Free All Purpose Flour) 
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
A few grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large yellow onion, sliced into 1/2-inch rings and separated
Mustard greens, for serving (I used mixed greens)

1. For the pork chops: Grind all the spices together with the sugar and rub all over the pork chops. Set aside for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature.

2. Preheat the grill on high or heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan if cooking in cast iron).

3. Cook the pork on one side for 4 to 5 minutes on the grill or in cast iron. Flip over and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the grill; if cooking in cast iron, flip the chop and transfer to the oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to rest for 5 minutes.

4. For the apples: In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar, 1 tbsp water and a drop of lemon juice. Cook until sugar caramelizes to golden brown. Turn off the heat and add the apple slices and star anise. Return the pan to medium-high heat, stir in the butter and remaining lemon juice. Saute, stirring, for 2 minutes, adding the brandy (or juice) in the last minute of cooking with a pinch of salt. Simmer briefly to burn off the alcohol and thicken the caramel. Set aside.

5. For the onion rings: Bring the canola oil to 360 degrees F in a large pot. Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow dish or bowl. Dip the onion rings in the flour mixture to dredge, shaking off any excess. Dip in the buttermilk to coat, and then back into the flour mixture. Shake off any excess flour. Working in batches, fry the rings until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Serve the pork chops with the sauteed apples, onion rings and greens. Enjoy!!!

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