I cook (and eat) a lot of chicken. Chicken is, after all, my favorite. Plus, chicken is one of the healthier meat options, better for the environment (when compared to beef) and in no danger of extinction (unlike our ocean friends).
But, I also realize that it's good to branch out every once in a while. If there's one meat I often accidentally overlook, it's pork. Unlike beef, which I only cook occasionally for health and environmental reasons, or fish, which I only cook occasionally due to conservation reasons (and try to only buy from reliable sources), pork doesn't sound any major alarms. Pork sits happily in the middle somewhere.
But, for whatever reason, I seem to associate pork with just two things- bacon and ham. Ok, and sausage. As a result, I pass right on by the pork section of the meat department and directly over to the chicken. While I have no plans to replace chicken and replace it with pork, I'm going to actually try to remember that pork comes in more than 3 forms and doesn't have to mean a (completely) unhealthy dinner.
What do I mean? Boneless Pork Chops.
While not as lean or healthy as chicken, whatever. It's a happy medium and definitely not like sitting down to a double-double from In-n-Out (which I may have done last week, shhh).
Since pork chops dry out pretty easily if not cooked perfectly (remember, I'm new here), I wanted to make a Blueberry Apple Compote to go with it. Besides, we all know my affinity for sweet and savory.
My whole family loved this meal- especially my dear husband who has a weakness for anything berry related. Octavian, also a berry lover, was all over this dish, devouring the pork chops and picking out the blueberries. whatever. It also looks super pretty (without any effort) and tastes amazing over a big buttery scoop of mashed potatoes, making this dish perfect for entertaining or as an easy weeknight dinner.
In news completely unrelated to food, I am utterly addicted to The Real Housewives of New Jersey. You guys, I can't stop watching! These shows have been on for years and I never imagined I would get sucked into such nonsense. Well, here I am, binge watching (as background noise, of course) whenever possible. I'm so hooked that I'm already dreading the day that the show is over and I've run out of episodes. After New Jersey, which city is the next best train wreck?
Well, on that note, Happy Friday! The kid's in bed, RHONJ is playing and I have a piece of pie the size of my face (with whipped cream and ice cream) waiting for me.
Easy Pork Chops with Blueberry Apple Compote
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Wait Time (optional): 1 hour | Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Type: main dish, dinner, pork, easy
For the pork chops
4 thick-cut boneless pork chops
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 tablespoon salt
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
For the Blueberry Apple Compote
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large apples, peeled and diced (granny smith or pink crisp)
1 tablespoon butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt, to taste
Prepare brine for pork chops. In a large mixing bowl mix together apple juice with 1 tablespoon of salt and add pork chops. Brine pork chops to the brine and allow chops to rest for 1-2 hours in the refrigerator (if you don't have time for this step, don't worry! Your pork chops will be delicious without it).
When ready to start dinner, remove pork chops from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the chops with olive oil and fresh ground pepper. Allow chops to come to room temperature while blueberry apple compote is cooking.
Meanwhile, prepare all the ingredients for the blueberry apple compote.
Start the blueberry apple compote. In a medium sauce pan heat butter over medium high heat and sauté onions with the diced apples for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the minced garlic and sauté for an additional 1-2 minutes. Gently pour in the apple juice in the pan with the blueberries and cook over medium-high heat until liquid has reduced by half. Stir frequently. Reduce heat to medium low and add balsamic vinegar with salt and continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add a thin coat of olive oil to the pan and add the pork chops. Reduce heat to medium and cook pork chops for 6-8 minutes before flipping and cooking the other side. Continue to cook the pork chops until fully cooked, between 145-160 degrees F.
Remove pork chops from skillet and allow them to rest for 2-3 minutes before topping with a generous spoonful of blueberry apple compote. Serve with roasted potatoes, green vegetables or easy quinoa.