We have loved our local Austin Eastciders Honey Cider this summer, and as we move into Fall, I wanted to find a way to cook with it. Apples and Pork go together so well, so I called upon this recipe from 2013, which I found through Plated and edited to make my own.
1 russet potato or several small to medium-sized gold potatoes, diced
Olive Oil (I like California Olive Ranch evoo)
1 Gala apple, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 cups arugula
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pork chops or loin chops
1 shallot, diced
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cups hard cider like Austin Eastciders Honey Cider, or you can substitute apple cider
Mise in place
Gather supplies and ingredients
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place diced potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with a splash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread into an even layer and roast for 20 minutes. Stopping halfway and tossing the potatoes on the sheet pan.
During the first 10 minutes of the potatoes cooking in the oven, wash the apple and fennel and slice. For the fennel, trim the stalks from the bulb - and you can save the dainty fennel fronds for the salad; they have a delicious flavor. I like to use a mandoline on the fennel. Be careful not to cut yourself. The apple is better as thicker slices, as opposed to julienne or paper-thin slices. Cut the apple thinly by hand.
In a small bowl, mix tarragon with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the apple, and fennel, toss to coat with the dressing evenly.
Share the sheet pan
When you take the potatoes out of the oven to toss at the 10-minute mark, push them to one side and add the fennel and apple slaw. Now they roast together for the last 10 minutes.
Sear pork chops
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pat pork dry with a paper towel, season with salt and pepper. Sear pork chops until browned on the outside and cooked to 145 degrees, about 3 minutes per side. Use a thermometer to check. Remove the pork from pan and cover with foil.
Hard cider pan sauce
If the pan from the pork chops looks dry, add a splash of olive oil. You will likely have enough pork drippings in the pan to keep going without additional oil. Turn heat down to medium, and add the shallot and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add a splash of apple cider vinegar and the hard cider. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This is flavor baby! Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low and let it simmer until the liquid reduces by half. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Toss the roasted apple and fennel slaw with baby arugula—taste for seasoning. Plate the salad alongside the crispy potatoes. Add the seared pork, and spoon the cider pan sauce on top of the meat.
The kiddos liked the pork, and the potatoes, just not the chunky shallot in the pan sauce. And they wouldn't even try the salad. I cut a Gala apple up for them, and they just ate plain apple slices. I call this a complete dinner win!