This is a recipe courtesy of Lisa Schroeder, the chef/owner of Mother’s Bistro & Bar and Mama Mia Trattoria in Portland, Oregon. Her award-winning restaurants have been featured in The Oregonian, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, Town & Country, USA Today, and Bon Appetit.
Pork chops and applesauce is a classic, but predictable, combination. This recipe offers a different take without much more effort. A touch of vinegar gives the chutney a hint of savoriness, and the sweet glaze balances the fattiness of the pork and gives it a special-occasion flair. Feel free to make the chutney ahead – it keeps for a week or two, so you can have it on hand whenever you want to serve pork chops, pork loin, roast chicken, or sandwiches.
For the Marinade:
1/2 cup vegetable oil. 3 cloves garlic, chopped. 1/4 cup orange juice. 1 tsp kosher salt. 4 (1″ thick) center-cut pork chops
In a medium mixing bowl, combine oil, garlic, orange juice and salt. Place the pork in a bowl or zip-top bag. Pour the mixture over the pork and marinate in the refrigerator for a least 4 hours or overnight.
For the Chutney:
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and dices (about 4 cups). 3 tbsp golden raisins. 1/4 cup cider vinegar. 1/4 cup sugar. 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar. 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg. 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon. 2 whole cloves. 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
In a medium (4- to 6-quart) saucepan, combine the apples, raisins, vinegar, granulated sugar, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the apples are soft and the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Remove from the heat, take out and discard the cloves, and cool to room temperature.
For the Glaze:
1 cup apple juice. 2 tbsp honey. 1 tsp cracked or coarsely ground black pepper. Grated zest of 1/4 orange (1/4 tsp).
Combine the apple juice, honey, pepper and orange zest in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half (about 1/2 cup), 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
To Cook and Serve:
Heat the grill to medium-high (you should be able to hold your hand just above the grate for 2 to 3 seconds). Oil the grill (either pull the grate off and spray it with nonstick cooking spray, or put oil on a paper towel and rub it on the grate while using tongs to hold the towel). Place the pork chops diagonally on the grill as if facing 10 o’clock. After a few minutes, when they start to turn opaque on the grill side, use a spatula to lift the chops and turn them clockwise a quarter turn so they now face 1 o’clock. (This will give a nice crosshatch pattern). Baste with the glaze once or twice. Flip the chops and cook , basting once or twice, until they’re done to your liking. (I like cooking pork to 145 degrees F, which is a little underdone. Then I let the pork rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving to reabsorb its juices. During this time the meat will continue cooking, and the temperature will rise another 10 to 15 degrees.
Divide the pork chops among the plates with the crosshatch pattern on top and serve topped with the apple chutney (warmed or at room temperature), and mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or creamed corn pudding.