Sunday, October 25, 2009

French-Inspired Fall Flavours

Tonight's dinner was one of those meals that somehow came together with things I already had in the pantry (a rare occurence in my house). I still had some ultra-thick boneless pork chops from Costco in the freezer - the only protein other than eggs, in the house - so I started out by thawing them.

Peaking through the refrigerator, I saw that I still had a couple of local apples, and a few local baby cabbages (so cute!). I remembered I had a couple of cans of Gaymers apple cider, and there it was.......dinner. This dish is representative of the Northern (Normandy) region of France.

Apple Cider Braised Pork Loin with Cabbage

~ 6 boneless pork loin chops (I sliced my ultra-thick ones in half)
2 TBSP butter
salt, pepper
~ 12 ounces hard apple cider (such as Gaymers, Strongbow), or about 1 1/4 cups apple juice plus 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (drink the remaining cider while you continue with the recipe)
4 to 6 cups of finely shredded cabbage (young, if possible), without cores
2 apples, cored & sliced - I leave the peel on
2 TSP cornstarch
1/2 cup light or heavy cream

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt & pepper; brown, both sides, in pan. Remove the browned meat and set aside. Deglaze the pan with roughly 1/2 cup of the apple cider, scraping up bits from the bottom.

Add the cabbage and apples, tossing to coat. Season generously with salt & pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes, then return pork to pot. I placed the pork on top of the cabbage, and then heaped some of the cabbage on top, so that the pork was in the middle. Add the remaining apple cider.

Bring to a boil, then cover & simmer for ~25 minutes. The meat will be cooked through and the cabbage should be completely tender. Cook a bit longer if the cabbage is not tender enough. Check for seasoning; adjust if necessary. Remove the pork and set aside. Sprinkle the cornstarch over; stir to combine. I like the sauce to be a bit thickish - if you'd rather not add the cornstarch, skip this step.

Add the cream. Return to a boil and cook until the cabbage mixture has thickened. Place the cabbage apple mixture on a platter & top with the pork. Drizzle some of the sauce over top of the pork to serve.

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