Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pork Chops with Apple-Sage Sauce + Biscuits

If a prize for "ugliest sauce to accompany pork chops" existed, I think the apple sage cream sauce featured in this post might win. It smelled and tasted great, but left a lot to be desired in terms of presentation. I tried to hide it with a sage leaf and also tried to distract you with the colorful salad greens. Sloppy appearance aside, the pork chops with apple sage cream sauce made a great Saturday lunch.

Pork Chops with Apple and Sage Cream Sauce

4 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
salt and pepper (preferably freshly ground)

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges
1/2 medium onion, sliced thin (about 1/2 cup)*
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup apple cider
3 tbsp. applejack or brandy
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. minced fresh sage leaves
3 tbsp. light cream cheese
2 tsp. cider vinegar

1. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels, then season each side with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 10 or 12-inch skillet (use one with a lid) over medium-high heat until just smoking. Lay the chops in the skillet and cook until light brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the chops over, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the center reaches 130 degrees (with an instant read meat thermometer), 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Transfer chops to plate, cover with foil and allow them to rest until the center reaches an internal temperature of 140-150 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, add apple, onion, and 1/4 tsp. salt to the oil/drippings left in the skillet, return to medium-low heat, and cook, covered, until the onion has softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in cider and brandy, scraping up the browned bits in the skillet. Stir in the broth and sage; bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.
4. Pour any pork juices accumulated on the plate into the skillet. Whisk in cream cheese and continue to cook until the sauce has thickened, about 1 minute. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in vinegar; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over pork to serve. Four servings.

Per serving:
Pork chops only: 330 calories; 15 g fat; 110 mg cholesterol; 0 g carbs; 44 g protein; 0 g fiber; 8 points. Sauce only: 90 calories; 2 g fat; 5 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbs; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 2 points.
* I substituted shallots for onions
Source: The Best Light Recipe, from the editors of Cook's Illustrated

I also made "Secret Trick 1860 Baking Powder Biscuits," from Marcy Goldman's A Passion for Baking. This was my first attempt at making homemade biscuits just for the sake of making homemade biscuits. I've made shortcake biscuits several times, which are conceptually similar, but never plain biscuits. I have a long list of things I want to make from A Passion for Baking, and decided to start with this recipe. The results? They were easy to make but were more bitter than I prefer. A shot of honey on top helped, but in my opinion, a good biscuit should be able to stand alone. I suspect the baking powder is to blame, but I am afraid the biscuits would not rise enough if I reduced it. I plan to continue my quest for a great biscuit recipe, but in the meantime, here is the recipe:

Secret Trick 1860 Baking Powder Biscuits
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. shortening
3-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1. In a measuring cup, stir whipping cream and lemon juice together; let stand a few minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper (I think you could use just one if you have Airbake double-walled baking sheets). Arrange oven rack to upper third position.
3. Whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Cut in butter and shortening to make a coarse, grainy mixture. Drizzle soured cream over mixture and stir lightly with a fork to blend. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times until mixture is just rollable.
4. Pat or roll out to 1-inch thickness and cut into 2-inch disks. Place on prepared baking sheet; brush tops with milk, cream, or melted butter. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.

Source: A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman

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