Tender and juicy boneless pork chops braised in apple cider with onions, garlic, thyme and a splash of cream and topped with apple slices. Comfort food for your autumnal table. Serve these chops in creamy sauce over my Sweet Potato and Swede Mash. Delicious!
For more ways to cook pork, take a look at my recipe for Pork Loin Steaks in Creamy Shallot and Mushroom Sauce.
I don’t share pork recipes often enough and it’s a real shame because we certainly enjoy them at home. Pork has a reputation of being fatty, and therefore not that good for you.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are plenty of lean and delicious choices when it comes to pork, and lots of ways to make it tender and flavourful.
I think pork is an amazing addition to recipes like this. The pork comes out tender and tasty when cooked in this creamy sauce and hit with crisp and sweet apples. It’s an always popular take on French cooking that will be a hit in your house too!
Choosing your chops
Everyone has their pork chop preferences and I have mine. There are many pork chop cuts and some of them are fattier than others. I tend to reach for the leaner cuts.
When pork chops are braised in sauces, the last thing one wants to see or eat is a layer of fat attached to it. This is one of the reasons I favour boneless loin chops.
Boneless loin chops, also known as pork loin steaks, are the cut I buy most often. It’s lean, delicious and relatively inexpensive.
Shoulder chops are my second choice. They are very affordable and quite flavourful but can have a fair bit of gristle. Braising shoulder chops in order to tenderise them is the way to go!
Rib chops are also an excellent option when it comes to grilling but don’t work very well for braising.
Keeping pork moist
As great as pork chops are they can be disappointing when they come out dry as a bone. But there are reasons why this happens and ways to prevent it.
Pork chop meat is quite lean and often thinly cut, so it only requires a short cooking time. The reason for a dry pork chop is most likely overcooking.
So what can I do to avoid a dry pork chop?
- Quickly sear them for flavour but don’t keep them in a pan too long. Prolonged direct heat makes them tougher.
- Oven bake them in liquid until tender.
Braising pork chops in a sauce not only tenderises them but also imparts much flavour. Sauces are my favourite trick when it comes to creating flavourful food!
Sauce for pork chops
The sauce recipe I am sharing today is inspired by the French province of Normandy.
The sauce itself is very simple but incredibly savoury and satisfying. The secret ingredient that makes it absolutely irresistible is dry apple cider, something Normandy is justifiably famous for.
Here’s how to make it:
- Sauté chopped onion and celery in a bit of oil, add some minced garlic and fresh or dried thyme. Deglaze the pan with a splash of brandy and let it reduce until you see nearly no liquid. Brandy adds such a fragrant and sweet touch to this delicious sauce. Don’t skip it if you can help it!
- Thicken it with flour and then pour in your dry apple cider and yes, it is an alcoholic cider we are after. If you prefer to go alcohol free, replace with non alcoholic cider plus 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Let it bubble away with pork chops in the pan, then add cream and simmer a bit longer.
Recipe tips and notes
- I love the apple cider in this sauce and how perfectly it works with pork. I’ve used hard apple cider but if you prefer not to use alcohol, you can substitute with non alcoholic cider or apple juice for flavour and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar for acidity.
- Deglazing with brandy is an important step to get maximum flavour from the pan and into the sauce. Red wine, sherry or whiskey will work well if you don’t have brandy available. You can also use stock if you prefer to avoid alcohol.
- Instead of double or heavy cream, you can use an alternative milk products like soy or oat cream. I don’t recommend using coconut milk. Although it has the right texture, the flavour of the cream will overpower the dish.
- If you don’t like using pork I have a similar recipe called French Chicken Casserole a la Normande that I’m sure you will find inspiring!
I serve these boneless pork chops in creamy sauce over plain rice. The apple cider sauce is so delicious and does a great job at flavouring the rice.
Here are a few other suggestions:
Storage and leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days or be frozen for up to three months.
You can reheat leftovers over low heat on your stovetop, adding a splash of water or stock to loosen the sauce. Cover with foil or a lid so it doesn’t dry out and leave for 15 minutes or until the meat is hot throughout.
Boneless Pork Chops with Apples and Cider
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 thick cut boneless pork loin chops or shoulder chops
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 celery rib diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4-5 sprigs of thyme, leaves only or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 2 tsbp flour
- 250 ml /1 cup hard apple cider or non- alcoholic cider plus 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 125 ml / ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 apples, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each
- 125 ml / ½ cup double cream/heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Heat the oil in large deep pan and sear the seasoned with salt and pepper pork chops over high heat for no longer than 2 minutes on each side. They should be nicely browned but not be cooked all the way through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Turn the heat to low, then add the chopped onion and celery, sauté until tender for about 5-7 minutes, then add the minced garlic and thyme leaves and cook for a minute longer. Then deglaze the pan with 2 tbsp of brandy, let it simmer and reduce until there is barely any liquid left. Add the flour and stir to incorporate the flour into the fat and liquid to create a paste, then add the apple cider and chicken stock.
- Return the pork chops to the pan, add a pinch of salt and bring the sauce to a boil, then cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. While the pork chops are in the oven, peel, core and cut the apples into 8 wedges each. Fry them in butter until lightly browned but watch carefully as they burn quickly.
- Then take the pan out of the oven and add the cream to the sauce, cook uncovered for 20 minutes longer or until the pork chops are tender. Add the fried apple slices to the pan, add more salt if needed and serve.