(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and Taste of Home)
- 4 bone-in pork rib chops or center-cut chops, about 7 ounces each and 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick, patted dry with paper towels.
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 medium tart apples, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Prepare chops by cutting two slits through the fat and connecting tissue, about 2-inches apart from each other, perpendicular to the chop (i.e., across the short side, not the length, of the fat). Rub both sides of each chop with 1/8 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle one side of each chop evenly with 1/8 teaspoon sugar, avoiding the bone
Place chops, sugared-side down, in 12-inch nonstick skillet, with the bony, narrow ends toward the center. Using hands, press meat of each chop into pan. Set skillet with chops over medium heat; cook until lightly browned, 4 to 9 minutes. (Chops should be sizzling after 2 minutes, if not, see note below.) Using tongs, flip chops, positioning them in same manner. Cover skillet, reduce heat to low, and cook until center of each chop registers 130 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 3 to 6 minutes (begin checking temperature after 2 minutes); chops will barely brown on second side. Transfer chops to platter and place in a warm oven (250 degrees) while you make the sauce. The chops should be around 140-45 when you remove them from the oven. (The USDA says it’s okay to leave pork a little pink, and it is far more tender that way.)
Add butter to any juices in the pan and saute the apples for about five minutes until nicely browned.
Mix brown sugar with cinnamon and nutmeg and and add to the pan along with raisins and pecans; cook until bubbly.
Remove chops from the oven, checking the temperature, and serve browned-side up, with apple-pecan mixture on top.
Note 1: If you don’t hear a gentle sizzle after the pork chops have been cooking for two minutes over medium heat, your stovetop is running at a low heat output. Raise the meat to medium-high to cook the pork chops uncovered. Then reduce the heat to medium-low instead of low, cover the pork chops, and continue as directed
Note 2: I served my chops with a side of parsleyed new potatoes, but hash browns or mashed would be good too. Because with a dish like this, you need to stop counting carbs or calories.