RIP Fred the Pig (Also, Amazing Pork Chops)

As I’ve mentioned, I am a small town girl.  SMALL.  And one of the best things about being a small town native is summer fairs.  There’s a whole lot of personality to be had at these events, and the only way to do them right is to dive right in and appreciate the tractor pulls and fried everything for the fun they are.

I'm not saying you have to dress like this for a county fair.  But it probably won't hurt...

I’m not saying you have to dress like this for a county fair. But it probably wouldn’t hurt…

A classic part of any good county fair is the 4-H competition.  But if you ask my family, the better part is the auction that comes after.  Every year, we buy a pig.  We keep a little to give to family, but most of it gets donated to the local food cupboard (these pigs are no dainty things, they can feed a LOT of people).  Last year’s pig Fred has helped feed many people who really need it, and that’s awesome.  If you want to donate to your local food cupboard, click here to find one near you!  My parents ate the very last of Fred this week, and though they were sad to see him go, he’ll be replaced pretty soon.

If you’ve got pork chops in your life, whether you came by them at the grocery store or in a barn full of 4-H kids, you need to make this recipe.  And when you do, you will decide this is the only pork chop recipe you will ever need, and you will never, ever, EVER leave it for another recipe.

Ok, you may eventually want to branch out and try another pork chop recipe.  But I’m telling you, this is SO easy (7 ingredients, and three of those are salt/pepper, olive oil, and butter, which aren’t even reallyyyy ingredients), and SO good.  SO SO good.  Martha Stewart recipes can sometimes be a little hit or miss in my opinion; not that they aren’t good, but they can be fussy/ingredient heavy. Not this one– this recipe is perfect.  Three steps, one pan, and half an hour gets you incredible flavor.  It’s almost like she knows what she’s doing or something!

Easy Pork Chops

Martha, you forever have my gratitude.

Now, I’m not a big meat person, and I definitely don’t make/eat pork very often.  Come to think of it, this is the only pork recipe I’ve made since I moved to DC almost a year ago!  It’s not that I don’t like pork, but it isn’t my favorite.  That said, this recipe thawed my chilly lil’ heart.  I’d forgotten about it until a friend texted me today asking for an easy recipe to make for her boyfriend (SO cute), and I instantly thought of this.  That text came 30 minutes ago, and I started writing right away!  Once I remembered this recipe, I had to share it ASAP.  It’s that good, and that worth making.  So you’ve got no excuse, try this for your someone (or for yourself, because hey, you deserve it) tonight!

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions (original recipe here)

Serves 6

6 Bone-in Pork Chops (loin or shoulder, 3/4 in. thick)

Salt and Pepper

1 T. Olive Oil

2 T. Unsalted Butter

1 Lg. White Onion, sliced

2 to 3 Apples, cored and sliced (about 3 cups)

1 c. White Wine (you could use beer, cider, chicken stock, or water.  But white wine is pretty darn great in there)

Trim the pork chops and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Lay in the pork chops and leave them alone for a few minutes so they form a nice, golden sear.  Turn and brown on the other side, cooking for a total of about 10 min.  Move the chops to a plate.

Swirl butter in the pan and add onions and apples.  Cook til the apples have softened and the onions begin to caramelize, around 8 min.  Stir in wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any good bits that have stuck.

Return the chops and cook until tender (about 15 more minutes), turning halfway through and covering with the onion/apple mixture.  If the apple/onion mixture needs thickening, take the chops out and simmer the mixture for a few more minutes.  But you probably won’t need to do this.  Serve the chops with a large spoonful of the onion/apple mixture on top.  Voila!

If you want you can serve the chops over rice or mashed potatoes, but I’ve never done that and nobody has ever complained (or gone hungry)!

So deceptively simple.

So deceptively simple.

I love this dish because it looks, sounds, and tastes really fancy, but is actually incredibly easy.  I have a semi-fear of cooking meats/poultry because I don’t do it often, so I’m sometimes a little wary of taking on a meat recipe.  But this one wasn’t a stumbling block for even me, so anybody can definitely take this recipe on!

This recipe is one of those warm, homey-feeling recipes that feels like your mom would make it in the wintertime.  But you don’t have to save it for the colder months of the year!  Since it’s a stovetop-only recipe, you can make it any time of year without giving yourself an oven-induced heat stroke.  So put on some jazzy music, light some drippy candles, and pretend you’re far classier than you are for an evening (well that’s what I do anyway.  If you’re super-classy in real life all the time, good for you!  Also, share your secrets, por favor?).  When you make this, do a toast for Fred, will ya?