Pumpkin-Cider Braised Pork Chops with Shallots and Thyme
This dish is quintessentially fall and will have you in the mood of the season. Center cut boneless pork loin chops are a favorite cut of meat with a wonderful texture and consistency. Should you not have access to pumpkin cider or pumpkin spice apple sauce, regular spiced apple cider and apple sauce may be substituted.
In a large skillet (which has a tight fitting lid), heat the olive oil over medium high heat until the surface of the oil is shimmering. Combine the salt and pepper, and sprinkle over both sides of the pork chops. Place a plate next to the stovetop.
Sear the pork chops for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove chops from the skillet and set on a plate.
Reduce heat to medium, and add the shallots, garlic and thyme to the skillet. Sauté until the shallots become limp and transparent (approximately 5 minutes).
Combine the pumpkin cider, chicken stock and brandy and gently pour into the hot skillet (be careful of splattering!). Scrape the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula to deglaze the pan and free any bit of pork. Stir in the Dijon mustard.
Return the pork chops to the skillet, turn the heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the internal temperature of the pork chops reaches 140 degrees. Remove the pork chops and set them on a clean plate; tent with foil (they will continue to cook while tented).
Increase the heat to medium-high and allow the pan juices in the skillet to come to a boil. Cook, stirring periodically until the juices reduce by half (approximately 5 minutes).
To serve: place a 1-2 large spoonfuls of the pumpkin spice applesauce on dining plates; add a pork chop on top. Place some of the shallots on the chop and drizzle with pan juices. Serve immediately.