Whole Lotta Braising Going On!

I’ve been braising a lot of meats in various sauces lately- trying to stave off the hot days that I know are just around the corner by keeping to Wintry foods: cider braised chicken, mustard wine braised pork loin, and so on. The one ingredient I can’t seem to stop throwing into every braised dish though is a simple one: apples!

Apples with chicken, apples with pork, apples in pancakes, apple fritters, apple pie (of course), even apple in my latest batch of Texas Martinis…!

My latest concoction came about the other night when we had friends over for dinner. I made a batch of my favorite cheesy smashed potatoes and cider-braised greens, then threw together a Dutch oven dish that made the table go silent while we ate: bacon wrapped pork chops in a cider-applejack-thyme sauce that has me wishing it was dinnertime right now.

To make the sauce, braise your pork chop, chicken, or whatever you are working with, for about 10 minutes. Then flip and braise the second side for about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add 1/2 c chopped shallot, 2 cl chopped garlic, and saute those until they turn translucent. Add 2 t thyme, 2 t flour and 1 c apple cider. Stir until blended and flour makes a light roux. Add 1 chopped apple, 2 T apple jack, 1/2 c chicken stock. Bring to boil, then turn heat down, and stir until blended. Place meat back into pan with the sauce and place in oven at 350° for about 15 minutes. When you remove the pan from the oven, remove meat from pan and add 2 t cider vinegar and 1 more t apple jack. Stir until well blended. Serve sauce over meat. And enjoy!!