Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Apple Cider Braised Pork Sammies with Apple Slaw

I was a fan of Jeff Mauro's on Next Food Network Star from darn near the beginning, but really didn't think he'd be the big winner until about halfway.  In particular, I recognized him as a real contender after a challenge featuring the Rachael Ray show.

When my friend Lisa made (and raved) about the sandwich he made in that episode, I decided to once again follow in her footsteps and make the dish.

This dish made my kitchen smell like fall.  A few years ago, I tutored a girl whose mother simmered a concoction of nutmeg, cinnamon, and other good stuff to make the apartment smell nice, and this was similar.  I chose Woodchuck Cider's Limited Edition Fall flavor, which features those same spices and really added to the great smell.

This took a lot of work.  It was all EASY, but there was a lot of time in the kitchen being fairly hands on in the preparation.  Once again, I wish I'd not listened to the expert chef and not used the box grater.  Julienne or even dice would have been totally fine here (after recently slicing my finger grating a tomato on a box grater, this time I used my mandoline slicer complete with sucky finger guard).

I skipped the celery seed in the recipe, but this made one HELL of a cole slaw.  My husband commented that he couldn't wait for lunch tomorrow, to have the roll and that slaw.  I also skipped the gorgonzola dolce...  Lisa mentioned that she skipped it and didn't miss it, so when I DID find it at $16.99/lb, I figured it wasn't worth my money.  I couldn't find brioche, so got these amazing rolls that were a perfect accompaniment.

Now.  The pork.  As far as the flavor, it was delicious.  I couldn't find brioche, so got these amazing rolls that were a perfect accompaniment.  I didn't do a great job with the pork and we got mouthfuls of a little bit of bone or fat.  Not so much on the appetizing side. My husband, who really isn't a pork chop fan, put it best when he said that there is no problem with the recipe; the pork chops tasted good, had good flavor, but it really wasn't his STYLE of sandwich.    I had a hard time butterflying the very hot, extremely tender pork chop, so served it straight of the bone; this may be behind his response since the thickness probably impacted the texture.

So, give Jeff's recipe a whirl sometime and see what YOU think!

Apple Cider Braised Pork Chop Sammys with Apple Slaw by Jeff Mauro


Pork Chops:

  • 6 bone-in pork chops
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups hard cider
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 whole cloves

Apple Slaw:

Sandwich Fixings:

  • 6 brioche sandwich buns, buttered and toasted
  • Spicy dill pickle slices, for serving
  • Gorgonzola dolce, softened, as needed


For the pork chops: Sprinkle the pork chops generously on both sides with salt and pepper. In large, heavy-bottomed deep skillet over medium-high heat, add the grapeseed oil. When the oil is super hot and glistening, sear the pork chops, without moving, until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Pull out the chops and set aside on a plate. Work in batches of 2 chops at a time to ensure they form a nice crust.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions and garlic to the pan. Season again with salt and pepper and sweat the vegetables, 8 to 10 minutes. Deglaze with the apple cider and hard cider, scraping the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the pork chops back to the pan along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate. Add the thyme and cloves. Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat falls from the bone, about 1 1/2 hours.
While the pork is cooking, work on the slaw: Whisk together the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, agave nectar, celery seed and Dijon mustard until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the coleslaw and apples and mix well. And more agave nectar if you prefer a sweeter slaw, or more vinegar if you prefer a tangier slaw.
To build the sandwich: Cut the pork away from the bone and butterfly the meat. Place on the bottom bun and top with the apple slaw and pickles. Spread some gorgonzola on the top bun and close the sandwich. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Serve with the bone on the side and your favorite chips

1 comment:

Lisa D. said...

I am so excited that you made these! It was definitely a lot of work for sandwiches. We loved the slaw too. And now I want to try that Woodchuck!

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