Braised Pork Chops with Apple and Fennel

Over last weekend, I finally made a recipe from The Paleo Approach Cookbook. I decided a while back to try out the Braised Pork Chops with Apple and Fennel. On the whole I was satisfied with the recipe, though it did take me considerably longer to prepare than it suggested.

Before I started the recipe, I preheated the oven, though I have a metric oven, and its thermostat is a bit out. instead of 300 degrees F, I preheated my oven to about 160 degrees C.

Another change I made, was to the spices. I was meant to mix 1 teaspoon of mace and cinnamon with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, but changed that because I wasn’t sure how hot they’d be, and I am very sensitive to hot spices. In the end, that wasn’t necessary, but I’m still pleased I did. Anyway, I ended up mixing 3/4 teaspoon of mace and cinnamon with the 1/2 of salt.

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After I’d mixed the spices, I patted the chops dry with paper tower, and rubbed them with the spices. The recipe called for 4 pounds of pork chops, which is around 900g, and was meant to be around 4 chops. The pork chops sold by my butcher were rather large, so ended up buying 3 chops. They weighed around 860g. Here’s what they looked like after I’d seasoned them.

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The recipe called for 2 to 4 tablespoons of lard melted in a large Dutch oven over a medium-high heat. I ended up using 3 tablespoons, as that seemed to sufficient to brown the chops. It required 4 to 5 slices of peeled ginger. Before browning the meat, I cooked the ginger slices for around 3 minutes, and stopped as they were starting to brown.

The recipe said brown the meat in batches, but as I didn’t want to crowd the pot, I browned each one individually for about 3 minutes each side. After I’d browned them, I set them aside.

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The recipe required an onion, cut into thick wedges; and 2 large fennel bulbs, cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch wedges. So, after completing browning the meat, I added the onion and fennel. It said to stir frequently, and after 8 to 10 minutes, the vegetables should be starting to soften, and be slightly browned. I found I needed to cook for longer than 10. Actually, I’m not sure how long I cooked them for, as I forgot to put my timer on. But, I do know I cooked them for longer than 10. I found they hadn’t really begun to soften, or get brown, but I proceeded to the next step because I needed to eat sooner rather than later.

I needed 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-2 inch chunks, for the recipe. I forgot to peel the apples, but the recipe didn’t appear worse because of the apple peel. So, after cooking the vegetables, it was time to add the apple, a bay leaf, and 1 cup of chicken bone broth. I could have used white wine instead, but I choose to use bone broth. After stirring, I added the pork chops along with the juices the pork chops accumulated while set aside, trying to nestle the chops in with the vegetables. I found this hard to do so.

After assembling the dish, I placed the pot into the oven and cooked for an hour. This is what it looked like after an hour.

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I enjoyed the dish, though next time I’ll cook it longer than an hour, as that might make the meat more tender. I did find the chops a bit dry, but I think that’s the problem I have with pork chops. But, the spice mix was tasty, without being too hot for me. So, on balance, I will make this recipe again.

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