We may think of apples as being something sweet because we use them in cakes and crisps, and we even make them into a sweetener for other foods. But apples work on the savory side of the plate, too. One of the most popular ways to use apples in a savory combo is pork chops and applesauce. Maybe you've tried this winning combo, but you may not know who first put the two foods together. Or you may be looking for the perfect pork chop recipe to try an applesauce with for your next weeknight dinner. Fortunately, we've got both the things you're looking for.
History of Pork Chops and Applesauce
Pork and apples are traditional companions on the plate, going back a few centuries at least. The House-keepers Pocket-Book, written by Sarah Harrison and published in England in 1760, suggests "Hind Loin of Pork roasted, to be served with Claret and Water in the Dish, and Apple Sauce in a Plate."
The dish appears to have first mentioned in print in the United States in the late 1800s. The 1893 guide Good Housekeeping, written by C.W. Bryan, mentions Pork Chops and Applesauce, telling the home cook to fry the pork "in its own fat and serve with a sauce of cored, sliced apples stewed."
Why is it a well-loved combo, though? Well, first and foremost, it tastes great. Apples can be used to sweeten a dish, either by using the fruit or apple juice. And there are more than a few cidered pork recipes that use hard apple cider to braise the pork (and you should definitely try at least one of them).
Another reason for pork chops and applesauce may be along the lines of the adage that what grows together, goes together, or in this case, what gets harvested at the same time, goes together. Pigs are typically slaughtered when the weather starts to turn cold, around the time when apples are being picked. If you're focused on using fresh food and those are two ingredients you have in front of you, it's not a difficult leap to finding a way to cook them together.
The comfort food combo has also made it in pop culture history, with a classic line from The Brady Bunch where Peter Brady imitates Humphrey Bogart when he asks what's for dinner. "Porks chops and applesauce. That's swell."
The Best Way to Prepare Pork Chops
Pork chops don't take a lot of total time to prep and cook, so they're perfect for your weeknight dinner. This recipe for boneless pork chops is easy to make, takes about 15 minutes of cook time, and it turns out juicy chops every time. Apples, raisins, apple juice, brown sugar and lemon juice get turned into a quick pan sauce for boneless pork loin chops. Add a teaspoon salt and a dash of black pepper for extra flavor. Fry the chops in a nonstick large skillet over medium high heat with a little bit of vegetable oil or olive oil so you have crispy pork and soft apples. (And if you are not a fan of raisins, you can absolutely leave them out.) Serve these fried pork chops with a side of roasted sweet potatoes, another fall side dish that goes great with apples.
Get the recipe here.
Our Favorite Applesauce Recipe
You can cook pork chops and applesauce with the applesauce served on the pork or on the side. Yes, you can use your favorite jarred applesauce and quickly dish it out next to your pork chops, but homemade applesauce is so easy. Making it yourself means that you can add your preferred spices, plus you can get the texture of the applesauce mixture exactly the way you like it. The easiest way to make your applesauce is in a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, but you can also roast apples in a baking dish or cook them in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed sauce pan on the stovetop, too.
Try this Pioneer Woman recipe for a yummy and easy applesauce. All it takes is 15 minutes of prep time and 25 minutes cooking on the stove for a perfect applesauce.
Get the recipe here.
This post was originally published on October 15, 2020.