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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Whiskey-Cider Pork Chops

Whiskey.  Hard cider.  Thick juicy pork chops.  Do I have your attention?  lol  Nothing tastes better than a perfectly cooked pork chop but with this recipe, your taste buds are in for a treat.  With a little bourbon and some hard cider left over from the holidays we decided to combine the two and, in the process, discovered they make a pretty great sauce.

These juicy pork chops develop their first layer of flavor while they rest in a marinade of whiskey, hard apple cider, brown sugar, vinegar and mustard.  After a few hours, the chops are ready to be browned until the edges are nicely seared.  Then it's time for the next layer of flavor, the glaze.  By simmering the marinade, the whiskey and cider reduce and combine with the brown sugar to create this beautiful shiny glaze for the chops.

When cooking thick pork chops like these you want to make sure that the chops are cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees.  Cooking to this temperature still allows you to have a slightly pink center in the chops, and it also helps retain all of those delicious pork juices.

This meal was delicious served with simple roasted red potatoes, and a little sauce on the potatoes was quite tasty, too.  Prep time for this recipe is pretty quick.  Once the chops have been in the marinade for a few hours, the actual cooking time is only about 25 minutes.  Enjoy!!

1/2 cup  Jim Beam Bourbon
1/2 cup  Angry Orchard Traditional Hard Cider
2 TB  Brown Sugar, packed
2 tsp  Cider Vinegar
1 TB  Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp  Vanilla Extract
5 or 6  Center Cut Pork Chops, about 1-inch thick
2 tsp  Olive Oil
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
1 TB  Unsalted Butter

In a small bowl combine the whiskey, cider, sugar, vinegar, mustard and vanilla and stir until blended.  Pour 1/4 cup of the marinade into a large ziplock bag, add the chops, and seal the bag, pressing out any excess air.  Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours, turning several times.  Reserve remaining marinade.

Remove the chops from the bag and drain on paper towels, then discard the marinade from the bag.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Season the chops with salt and pepper, place in the skillet and cook until seared on both sides but still slightly pink in the center.  Transfer the chops to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.

Add the reserved marinade to the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil.  Cook until reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Reduce heat to medium-low and pour any accumulated juices from the plate back into the skillet.  Whisk in the butter and simmer until the butter is melted and the glaze is thick and shiny.

Remove the pan from the heat and return the chops to the skillet.  Cover the pan and let the chops rest for 5 minutes.  Transfer the chops to plates, slice and serve with a spoonful of sauce over the chops.

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