This wonderful Fall recipe is from my dear friend and favorite chef…Erin French. It’s just one of 100 recipes in her cookbook/memoir “The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine” — an evocative, gorgeous four-season look at cooking and growing up in Maine.
This dish is inspired by my favorite way to cook venison, but uses pork instead–which is most likely much easier to come by in your neck of the woods. It also represents all the flavors that I smell in the air come hunting season. — Erin French
NOTE: BRINING TAKES AT LEAST 24 UP TO 36 HOURS
- Basic Brine made with 4 rosemary sprigs (click here to see)
- 4 bone-in pork chops (each about 1½ inches thick)
- 1 pound baby potatoes
- Salt and pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, needles finely chopped
- 2 large shallots, sliced lengthwise
- 2 crisp apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
- ¼ cup Calvados or other good apple brandy
Submerge the porch chops in the cooled brine, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 and up to 36 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the chops, preheat the oven to 425℉.
Put the potatoes in a medium pot and add just enough cold water to cover. Season with salt and bring to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmer the potatoes until just fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, preferably cast iron (click here to see our new selection of cast iron pans), over medium-high heat, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the chopped rosemary. Once the butter has melted, add the shallots and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the apples and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the Calvados, stir, and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and cook until the apples are just tender, about 5 more minutes. Drain the potatoes and toss with the apple mixture.
Heat 2 large ovenproof skillets, preferably cast iron (or work in batches in one pan), over high heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in each. Remove the pork chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. when the oil shimmers, carefully add the chops to the pans and sear until golden, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the pans to the oven and roast until the pork is cooked to your liking–I prefer medium, which will register as 140℉ to 145℉ on a meat thermometer. Depending on how thick your chops are, this could take 5 to 10 minutes. Allow the chops to rest on a warm plate for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the porch chops with the warm potatoes and apples.