Introduction: Pork Chops With Braised Red Cabbage

About: I love to spend time in the kitchen to relax and feed those I love with great eats and treats.

My mom's been making a version of "pork chops and purple cabbage" my entire life and we always looked forward to eating it. I was thrilled to come across this recipe in Cook's Illustrated's Best Skillet Recipes Cookbook that I could serve my family and not spend all day cooking like she did. 

The pork chops get nice and browned before settling into a warm bed of red cabbage cooked in apple cider, grated apple, onions, bacon, brown sugar, and herbs, letting all the flavors meld and the cabbage gets nice and tender, while the pork stays juicy. Finished with some apple cider vinegar to add some sour to the sweet, this skillet meal is one of our family's favorites. 

Are pork chops and purple cabbage in your future? I certainly hope so, enjoy!

Serves 4

Recipe from the Cook's Illustrated's Best Skillet Recipes Cookbook

Step 1: Gather and Prepare Ingredients

You'll need:

12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid

4 (8-ounce) boneless pork center-cut or loin chops, 1 inch thick, trimmed and brined if desired
Salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
1 small head red cabbage (about 1 ½ pounds), shredded fine (about 6 cups, I used the grating disc on my food processor) 
1 cup apple cider (I've also used hard cider with good results) 
2 slices bacon
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated (I had a Gala on hand, I most often use Granny Smiths. If you grate the apple and put it into the apple cider it will prevent the apple from browning before cooking.) 
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (I usually use 2 ½ or 3 Tbsp. for a little more tang)

Step 2: Brown Pork Chops

Slit the fat on the sides of the chops about every 1/2–inch (this prevents the chops from curling). Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the foaming subsides. Brown the chops lightly on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the chops to a plate and set aside.

Step 3: Saute Onions and Cook Cabbage

Return the skillet to medium heat, add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt, and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Slide onions to one side of skillet, add bacon and let start to brown and render some fat, about 1 minute. 

Add the cabbage, cider, apple, brown sugar, bay leaves, and thyme, and cook, covered, until the cabbage is softened, about 15 minutes.

Step 4: Finish Cooking Chops and Cabbage, Serve, and Enjoy

Nestle the pork chops into the cabbage, cover, and cook until the center of the chops registers 140 to 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 5 to 10 minutes.

Transfer the chops to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest until the cabbage registers 150 degrees while finishing the cabbage.

Return the cabbage to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is slightly thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and bacon. Stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Serving this with some cottage cheese and applesauce is our standard side. This time I made a grated sweet potato casserole that made an excellent accompaniment.

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