Wednesday 8 February 2012

Pork Chops with Sage, braised in cider

I'm re-publishing this post in order to enter it into the Herbs on Saturday blog-hop hosted by Karen on Lavender and Lovage. If you haven't discovered this yet, why not take a look?


The usual way to cook Pork Chops is to grill them, but if the chops are quite thick I find they can sometimes go quite dry and tough on the outside before being properly cooked on the inside (and no-one likes pink pork!). An alternative cooking method is braising, which is slower, but keeps the meat moist. It involves quick browning of the meat, followed by slower cooking in liquid. My variation on this theme is Pork Chops braised in cider. Roast pork is often accompanied with apple sauce, so I thought the cider would be an appropriate continuation of this theme.

Here's how I made the dish:-

Step 1: marinate the meat.
I lightly scored the surface of the meat with a very sharp knife, then I worked into it some crushed garlic, black pepper and chopped fresh Sage (from the garden), held in place with a tiny quantity of olive oil. I then let the meat stand, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge for six hours to let the flavours permeate.

Step 2: Brown the meat.
About an hour before cooking time, I lifted the meat out of the fridge, to allow it to come up to room temperature. Meat cooks better if it is more relaxed and not too chilly! I also scraped off most of the sage used in the marinade, which had gone quite black by this stage, its job done.

I then briefly cooked the chops in a frying pan with some hot oil, turning once or twice to make sure both sides were done. If you omit this stage, the meat will look very pale and anaemic - less attractive in my opinion.

Step 3: Braise the meat.
I poured a 500ml bottle of dry cider into a deep sauté pan, along with about 5ml of concentrated chicken stock, added the chops and brought the pan up to a gentle simmer.

I covered the pan and left it to "tick over" for about 45 minutes. Cooking time depends a lot on how thick your chops are. Mine were about 2.5cm thick, and the pair of them weighed about 400g.

Step 4: Make the sauce.
When the meat was cooked (Test its texture with a sharp knife when you think it should be ready. The meat will probably still be firm, but the knife should pass through fairly easily), I removed it from the pan and put it on a plate in a very low oven to keep warm.
I made the sauce by first reducing the cider by boiling it hard for about 5 minutes, then simply adding about 100ml of cream, (I used Elmlea Light - a low-fat version)  and stirring it to emulsify it and heat it through.

Step 5: Serve.
When everything was ready, I plated the chops, accompanied by some Charlotte potatoes tossed in parsley, and some Tenderstem broccoli, and then spooned the sauce over the top. I added another sprig of Sage as a garnish.

et Voilà...

I don't think it would win me a Roux scholarship, but it's not bad for an Everyday supper.

Wine recommendation.
Domaine du Grand Mayne (Côte de Duras) Rosé, 2010, served chilled.


  1. ooh I say!... I think I'm a little bit in love...

  2. Pass me a knife and fork!! Can you actually taste the cider? Neither I nor the OH like the stuff, but I've seen lots of recipes for pork with cider and have been tempted.

  3. I must tell my OH, he is useless at cooking pork.

  4. Alison; once the alcohol has evaporated you get a lovely strong apple flavour. I suppose you could use apple juice for much the same effect, but then who would use grape juice instead of wine in cooking???

    1. Actually I do use verjuice (which is the juice of young grapes) quite often instead of wine but I'll try not to be too offended...he he he

  5. Mmmm, it looks delicious. I bet the sauce is tasty.

  6. Ahh, I've had my dinner, but that looks so good I want something else now. P.S you do quite well with food photography; something I always find a challenge.

  7. Looks delicious!! Absolutely delicious!

  8. That's just what I made the other day but as a casserole in the oven I added sliced apples as well.

  9. We, unfortunately, don't get that kind of cider here. Ours is not alcoholic. I wonder if there is something like this though. I will have to browse through the alcohol section of the store although that is hard to do since I run into my children from the Club everywhere and it is considered bad for us to be buying alcohol where our children can see.
    I think this recipe looks wonderful and I never thought of cooking pork chops this way, in liquid. I will have to try it with some kind of liquid even if I can't find the cider.
    Ha Ha, I just read your earlier comment. I have never used wine in cooking either but have always wanted to try.

  10. Just noticed your ebuzzing ranking is 7 - congratulations! But before that distracted me I wanted to say that I'm nopt a huge fan of pork but I do cook it occasionally because my partner is (he has weird tastes what can one do?) and I use a very similar techinique to make a sage and mustard sauce - it does have cream in it though so is quite a decadent. I do like the idea of using apple cider though - very nice.

  11. Hmm...cider but then the alcohol does evaporate doesn't it? Soooooo I could cook these even with my alcohol free February, couldn't I? Perfect!
    They look so delicious Mark ~ thanks :D

  12. That looks very tasty and I liked the suggestion of sliced apples by Elaine. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I would definitely not complain about having that as an 'everyday' supper. Yum!

  14. Oooh..! It looks so delicious...

    P.s. you could take up job as a food photographer.

  15. I can't enjoy pork. So I enjoyed the potato and broccoli.

  16. I really like pork chops with cider and sage - a marriage made in heaven

  17. Lovely and excellent how-to. Braising is a wonderful technique. The first photo made me hungry right off!

  18. Eh voila indeed! That is SUCH a great way to cook pork chops and the photos are all wonderful too, nice to see the stages......braising them is just better for a tender chop, and I love your addition of cider and cream sauce too. Thanks VERY much for adding this to Herbs on Saturday, it's a great way to share recipes.
    Bon weekend!


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