Sometimes, when I’m making a brand new recipe, using an ingredient that’s new to me, or cooking with a new technique I kind of spend the day thinking about it. Without realizing it, I’ll visualize the different steps involved like an athlete preparing for a big game. I’ll look up a handful of similar recipes to get a sense of how others have done it.
Then, when it’s time to prepare what I’ve planned to make sometimes I get a little nervous–but also excited–before I start chopping. I now realize how ridiculous this sounds, but there you have it. Of course it’s all just because I care.
I never thought about the full spectrum of my cooking crazy until I planned to make this meal earlier this week. I noticed that no matter what I tried to do my thoughts kept drifting back to these pork chops. I planned out the sear, telling myself I had to channel the self restraint to not touch the pork chops for a good five minutes once I laid them in the iron skillet so I could get the perfect brown crust. Only then could I flip them and it would be hands off again. I contemplated how, exactly, one cuts onion into those thin loops and whether I should add the sliced apple with the onion or wait for the onion to start to caramelize. (I added them together. Good move.)
At times I wish cooking came a little more naturally or intuitively to me. But then again, I’m not sure the process or my successes would bring me as much joy as they do if that were the case. This meal felt like a major achievement in my cooking journey. It was cozy and comforting without being too heavy and it was bursting with the ideal balance of sweet and savory flavors. I nailed the sear. The caramelization was totally there. What more could I possibly ask for on a Tuesday night…besides, perhaps, a glass of wine?
Pork Chops with Apples & Onions
2 bone-in pork chops (1 pound total)
Salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced into thin rings
1 Gala apple, cored, sliced thinly
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup white wine
Thoroughly salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, lay pork chops in pan and don’t move them for 4-5 minutes. Turn and brown on the other side for another 4-5 minutes. Remove pork chops to a plate and tent with foil.
Add butter to the pan. Once melted, add onions and apples. Saute until onions start to caramelize and apples soften, about 8-10 minutes. Pour in wine. Nestle pork chops in pan and cover with apples and onions. Cook 10 more minutes, flipping pork chops halfway through.
Adapted from Martha Stewart