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9.23.2013

Pork Chops with Apple Barbecue Sauce, Caramelized Onions, and Feta

Now, before the 250-word title of this recipe turns you into a frozen blob of kitchen fear...


...and the mega-long ingredients list fills your bloodstream with anxiety-producing stop-drop-and-roll hormones*, let's give it some measure of rational attention.  Breathe iiiin and out.  We can do this!


*yes, I WAS a biology major.  Why do you ask?

But first, I've waited all day and night to tell you that this delicious pork chop and apple barbecue sauce meal was the perfect, autumn-inspired end to my not-so-perfect-first-official-afternoon-of-autumn-so-must-do-all-the-fall-things day.

Remember that one time when I didn't set extremely high expectations in my head for how things should go down?  Me neither.

Yesterday my husband and I planned to spend the first fall afternoon checking out a cute little village about an hour away from our home.  You know...taking in the crisp air, perhaps sipping that first pumpkin spiced latte while holding hands and giggling as our daughter coos up at us with delight and appreciation for being introduced to the changing leaves and the smell of hay and apples....that kinda stuff.

Instead, my daughter lasted about a nanosecond in her Baby Bjorn before pooping all over it, herself, and me.   I didn't think I'd win any mother-of-the-year awards strolling around town with an 11-week-old dressed in only a diaper and socks that look like little Mary Janes, and I forgot to pack an extra set of clothes (idiot!), so we headed home.  And then, back at home, my husband dropped his spanky-new IPhone 5S in the toilet.  So it was that kind of afternoon.

By the way, you never really want to hear "OH *&^%$!!!" coming from the bathroom.  Your mind goes to all sorts of no-good places.

But, my friends!  We got our act together for dinner.  Keeping in line with my desire for the perfect autumn Sunday, I felt like grilling up some pork with apples and onions, and I found two separate recipes online that I pieced together.  The result was perfect grilled pork chops smothered in homemade barbecue sauce made from apples, onions, and tomatoes.  These juicy bad boys then got topped with caramelized onions and tangy feta cheese.  Did you know such things go so well together?  Neither did I!


Don't let the long ingredient list intimidate you here.  You probably have most of these ingredients hanging out somewhere in your kitchen!

"This is like fall on a stick!*"
             -husband with his mouth full
                -*nothing about this recipe involves a stick of any kind




Pork Chops
with
Apple Barbecue Sauce,
Caramelized Onions,
and
Feta
Adapted from Eat Live Run and Tri to Cook
Serves 4
 
Ingredients:
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 red onion, vertically sliced thin
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 apples, peeled, cored & roughly chopped
4 roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c molasses
1/4 c + 1tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs  ketchup
1tbs tomato paste
1 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 lb boneless pork chops, trimmed
Salt/pepper
1/4 c reduced-fat feta cheese (optional)
 
Preparation:
Drizzle 1 tbs of the olive oil in a large skillet.  Turn heat to medium and when hot, add the onions. Saute the onions for about 15 minutes, until very soft and caramelized.  Midway through, add the balsamic vinegar. When they are done, remove the onions from the pan into a bowl and set aside.
 
 
To make the barbecue sauce, add the remaining tbs of oil to the pan and turn back up to medium heat.  Add the yellow onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and apples, and saute an additional 5 minutes.

 
Add in the tomatoes, syrup, molasses, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ketchup, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, coriander, and cumin.  Stir well.  Cover and simmer for 20-30 mins, until apples have softened and flavors have had time to marry. Carefully transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (could also use a hand/immersion blender).


 
Heat your grill or a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the pork chops with salt/pepper, and grill for 5-6 minutes per side, or until completely cooked through.  Top each pork chop with the apple barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, and a nice sprinkle of feta cheese.

 
 


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