Quick-ish Oven Braised Pork Over Smashed Potatoes

Okay, so maybe it isn’t exactly fair to call any braise “quick,” but this one uses smaller pieces of pork and is, accordingly, quicker than most.  My family loves the apple-y pork flavor, especially in the fall, and I boldly declare this the ideal early November comfort dish.  It isn’t low fat, low calorie, or low carb.   It is meltingly meaty, slightly sweet, and oh yeah – mustn’t forget – buttery.  Yum!

 

Quick-ish Oven Braised Pork Over Smashed Potatoes

 

Ultra Pork

Ingredients-

(For the Pork and Apples)

-2 cups of diced fresh apples

-1 yellow onion peeled, halved, and sliced

-1 tbsp. salt

-2 tsp. garlic powder

-2 tsp. garam masala

-2 tbsp. olive oil

-1 bay leaf

-1.5 – 2 lbs. bone in pork chops, preferably thick cut

-1 cup of your favorite ale

-1 1/2 cups of chicken broth

-2 tbsp. light brown sugar

-1 tbsp. unsalted butter

(For the Smashed Potatoes)

– 8-10 typical sized Yukon Gold Potatoes, not peeled and cut into a 1/2″-1/4″ dice

– 1 32 oz. box of Chicken Broth

-H2O as needed

-1 bay leaf

-2 tbsp. butter

-1.2 cup of sour cream

-1 tsp. salt

-1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Pork Illustrated

We're treating these apples like vegetables!

Method

(For the Pork and Apples)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a small bowl or ramekin combine the salt, garlic powder, and garam masala to create a spice mixture. Use this mixture to season the pork liberally (that means a lot) on both sides and set the left-over spices aside.  Now heat the 2 tbsp. of olive oil in an oven safe pan (again I like enamel coated cast iron) over high heat until quite hot.  Sear the seasoned pork for approximately 2 minutes per side until it is well browned.  (The stuff in the bottom of the pan will likely get almost black.  Do not be alarmed and DO NOT scrape it out.)

Seasoned pork in olive oil...

It's gettin' hot in here...

Once the pork is seared, remove it to a plate and add the apples, the onions and a couple more pinches of the seasoning mix to the pan.  Cook this, stirring frequently until the onion becomes slightly translucent.

Just a pinch...

Mmmm...

Now add the bay leaf, the ale, the chicken broth, and several more pinches of the seasoning mix.  Raise the heat to med. high/high and bring everything to a boil.  Once you’ve achieved a boil, add the pork chops back in.  Put the lid on the pot (you can use foil if your pan doesn’t have a lid) and place it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Oven Ready!

When the time is up, remove the pan from the oven and remove the pork from the pan.  Cut the pork into bite sized pieces and stir it back in with the other ingredients.  Add the remaining seasoning mixture, the light brown sugar, and the 1 tbsp. of butter. Allow the finished recipe to rest for about 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

(For the Smashed Potatoes)

Place the diced potatoes and the bay leaf in an appropriately sized pot and add chicken broth to cover.  If you run out of chicken broth, you can add a little water.  Now bring the potatoes to a boil over med. high/high heat and boil for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are VERY tender.

Drain the potatoes and put them back in the still warm pot.  Add the 2 tbsp. butter, the  1/2 cup of sour cream, the 1 tsp. of salt, and the 1/4 tsp. of garlic powder.  Mash everything together and stir it well.  It won’t be super-smooth so don’t try for that.  I like a little texture.

To serve, spoon a nice serving of potatoes into a bowl and ladle the braised pork along with the apples, onions, and juices over top.  Tasty, tasty tasty!

At last you are mine!

In case you were wondering-

Why do you specify bone-in pork?  The bone adds a lot of extra flavor.  Cooking meat with the bone in will always give you a richer tasting final product.

Can I put alcohol in a dish and serve it to my kids?  I have to leave that to your judgment as a parent.  I do it all the time as long as the alcohol isn’t present in massive quantities.  Research shows that not that much of the alcohol cooks out unless you cook for a long time over a really high temp, but if you consider the fact that this has one cup of ale in a recipe that is intended to serve 6-8 adults then a kid sized serving contains VERY little alcohol indeed.  That’s my two cents worth.

Why are we leaving the skin on the potatoes?  Potato skin is very nutritious and I actually like the texture it adds.  If you don’t like it you can always peel your potatoes, but I suggest you give it a chance.  Yukon Gold potatoes have very thin skin.

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