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Dinner Rush! Pork Chops With Warm Fennel-Apple Slaw

Isn’t fall just the best? In New York, anyway, the dappled landscape of red and orange leaves and the ever-present smell of apple cider doughnuts frying in vats of oil so dark and overused you can’t see through it just screams: “Feed me something delicious and hearty! And put on a sweater! Now!”

At my dinner table, the flavors of fall usually revolve around some combination of pork, fennel and apples — a serendipitous trifecta of flavor that has brought us together here today over this digital screen. It’s a combination that I find simple to prepare and a consistently delicious hit, even with a quick preparation like this one.

I like to use a bone-in chop for a recipe like this, which sits at the intersection where traditional peppers and onions meet a vinegary-mustardy slaw. The bone-in cut just looks better and is usually a better buy in the grocery store, as it costs less per pound. The quick cook time on the vegetables keeps their crunch intact and makes for a satisfying (and expedient) dinner that is great on its own or bolstered up with some instant polenta or roasted potatoes.

Give it a try and celebrate as you enjoy your inaugural meal of the best season of the year.

Pork Chops With Warm Fennel-Apple Slaw

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 (6- to 8-ounce) bone-in pork chops (about 3/4 inch thick)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 small bulb fennel, bulb and stalks thinly sliced, fronds roughly chopped, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon whiskey, optional
1 firm apple (such as Granny Smith or Mutsu), grated

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper, then sear in the pan until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the chops to a plate and let them rest.

Return the same skillet to medium heat and add in the fennel, onion and caraway seeds. Saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to tenderize, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the mustard, vinegar and whiskey (if using) and continue cooking until the liquids have mostly reduced, 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the grated apple and reserved fennel fronds; adjust the seasoning as needed with salt and pepper.

Serve the pork chops over the warm fennel-apple slaw.

NOTE: Grating the apple is a great way to save time when preparing this dish, especially since we’’re looking more for the flavor than the texture. Run it over the large holes of a box grater or through a food processor fitted with a grater attachment, just be careful not to do it more than a few minutes before adding it to the pan, as the cut apple will begin to turn brown.

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Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary team for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day, and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on Twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.

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Comments (1152)

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