There is something about childhood favorites that stick with you even as your palette develops. I can name on 1 hand the number of times we ate pork as a child…but those times were clearly memorable. It was adventurous, grown-up, and mature to eat something besides the standard kid fare (see: chicken, pasta, fish sticks, etc.). When we did have this “big kid” food it came in a variety of odd forms for a child. Pork chops wrapped in onion and bacon with gravy? No way! Onions and kids do not get along. What about smoked pork but with boiled cabbage? Um…..exactly. NO. But pork chops with apple sauce? Noooow we’re talkin’.
But as we grow up we search for more nutritious and gourmet versions of our favorites.
The other night I stayed at my parents house in the suburbs, where my mother kindly “requested” I make dinner for the family. This is typically music to my ears. She has an unlimited pantry, endless rows of dried herbs and spices, and an organic grocery store nearby. This night, however, she threw a wrench in my plans. “Amy, please don’t buy a whole bunch of ingredients and spend a bunch of money. Your dad and I just end up throwing out all those fresh herbs and weird ingredients.”
Ok ok I admit, I’ve bought anchovy paste, wasabi powder, $30 worth of saffron, etc. in the past.
But this time I was adamant to prove my mom wrong. Could I make dinner with a 4 item grocery list? I can….and I did! (and all for under $20 I might add!)
4 boneless pork chops, extra fat trimmed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/4 tsp ground sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 Fuji apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper with a small whisk. Place apples, onion, celery, and dried cherries in a non-reactive bowl. Pour dressing oil/vinegar mix into bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (20 min-1 hr).
Mix oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Pat pork chops dry with paper towel. Rub spice mixture evenly over both sides of pork chops. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sear chops on both sides until crispy, approximately 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cover lightly. Cook until semi-firm to touch, and no longer pink in the middle, approximately 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the pork! You want the center to glisten with delicious juiciness. Remove from skillet and allow to rest on cutting board for 5 minutes (this allows the meat to re-soak up its juices).
Take apples out of refrigerator and serve alongside chops.