Pork Chops and Apple…Salsa?

by Sarah on June 30, 2011 · 13 comments

I’ve told y’all a number of times–and am too lazy to find them and link back…but trust me–that although I can cook up some amazing recipe creations, when it comes time for dinner, I rarely ever cook myself an actual MEAL. Dinner for me usually consists of eating a big ol’ salad….then a little while later having some cereal and yogurt….and perhaps after that grabbing one of the 50 nut butter jars in my pantry and a spoon a little later on in the evening (or cutting up an apple if I’m feeling slightly more virtuous).

Every so often, however, I do manage to pull something out of my (apron) pocket, and was never more happy that this conveniently happened the day before applying at my new job, when one of the application questions went along the lines of, “What was the last meal you cooked for yourself?”* Since I don’t think “stirring cereal crumblies into Greek yogurt” would have helped me sail past the competition, it was a good thing I had made this only the night before.
*Clearly I could tell by the initial application that this was going to be a good place to work.I’d like to say this meal of Green Chile Pork Chops & Apple Salsa was inspired by Peter Brady famously saying “pork chops and applesauce,” but as I’m pretty sure that quote is in the same category with “Here’s looking at you, kid” as one of the pop culture references the Saved by the Bell generation latches on to but is more likely to have acquired through a secondhand source or The Brady Bunch Movie, rather than the original show….I can’t say that is true.The inspiration came, as it usually does, from the fact that pork chops were on sale—meaning this vegetarian chef but meat eater decided to try her hand and something carnivorous–…and that when I looked in the fridge I saw some salsa verde sitting next to some applesauce and thought to myself, “What would happen if I just mixed them together?” What happened was something quite amazing, actually. The kick of the jalapeno mellowed out with the sweetness of the applesauce, which helped accentuate the tartness of the tomatillo…every part bringing out the best in each other like one big (perhaps unrealistically) happy family.In fact, I now prefer my salsa verde sweetened up with (ironically unsweetened) applesauce…so for all you veggies out there, you can still try THIS at home.*
*Unless you are an actually vegetable. Then you might not want to take a swim, as you’ll then end up in my mouth.You can’t take the lazy out this cook THAT easily, however, and I just ripped open the package and seasoned up the boneless chops with a bit of salt, pepper, and chili powder. Then, while the oven preheated to 350 degrees, I seared both sides of the chops. [I think I left them on each side for about 2-3 minutes.]
Meanwhile, I started thinking about Green Chile Pork, and my favorite Green Chile Pork Taco from Torchy’s here in Austin. [It was the meal that turned me on to the wondrous possibilities of trailer food.] I figured while we were on the subject of pork, we might as well add a little more fun.
I stirred the can of green chiles in with the apple salsa verde and poured it over the chops in an oven-safe pan.
And then I guess I started nostalgically thinking about how we used to bake apples around the campfire at summer camp (or I just had an apple that needed to be used…I’ll let you determine the true source of my motivation), so I diced up half an apple and threw that in the pan as well.
Yes, a green or golden apple might have fit in slightly better with the overall color thematics, but this way it’s like Christmas! Or the Mexican flag!
Bake that for about 20 minutes, or until the pork registers at a temperature you like.
However, if you think I actually stuck a meat thermometer in them, you’ve clearly never read this blog before. So you can also be like me and slice one of them in half after 20 minutes to assess whether or not you can safely consume them without fear of death.
To be honest, I kind of just wanted to slurp up the sauce. It was seriously delicious and developed a whole differently complexity when warmed up with the now-softened apples and subtle heat from the green chiles.
But I ate the pork, too. [Although, to be completely honest with you, I might have cooked it a little TOO long. My meat cooking skills need a little work.]I also ate a sweet potato, chosen for it’s burst of orange I felt this plate needed. And because I like sweet potatoes.It’s been awhile since I made this, so I honestly don’t remember what type of summer squash that was. I’m almost positive it was the Asian opo squash I got at the Downtown Farmer’s market. You can use zucchini. Or yellow squash. Or Mexican grey squash. Or no squash. [Gasp!]

Green Chile Pork Chops & Apple Salsa
[Serves 2, but easily doubled, tripled, septupled]
2 boneless center-cut pork chops (you can probably use bone-in, just adjust cooking time)
salt, pepper, chili powder (or cumin)
1/4 prepared salsa verde
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 4 oz. can diced or chopped green chiles
1/2 cup diced apple

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix together salsa verde, applesauce, and green chiles.
3. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side in a hot pant coated with cooking spray.
4. Place seared chops in an oven-safe baking dish. Cover with apple-salsa mixture.
5. Sprinkle diced apples over the salsa-covered pork chops.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until pork reaches desired temperature or “done-ness.”