Actually, it's not. It was 80 degrees in San Antonio today. But imagine if you lived in say, Fargo, North Dakota. You'd be pretty cold right now and longing for a hearty braise like this one. Minnesota and North Dakota are both home to a large number of German immigrants and this recipe is an ode to them and the easy meals you need if you are a pregnant chief of police with ruthless murderers to track down. Bone in pork chops get a quick sear before being braised in hard apple cider with onions, cabbage, and apples. The sweetness is cut with a heaping tablespoon of mustard and some fresh scallions. I served it over spaetzel (which I highly recommend), but if you are in a hurry, or drank the other five hard ciders while the pork chops braised, it would be great with a hunk of bread or some roasted potatoes.
I've seen a number of Coen brothers' movies, but never Fargo which is widely regarded as their best film. The plot is a bit bizarre but it is all of the details that make it great. The pacing, the characters breaking through the crust of the snow as they try and traverse the landscape, the creepy Paul Bunyan statue, the juxtoposition of those who are content and those who are trying to live beyond their means. I always enjoy William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi, but this movie reminded me how much I like Frances McDormand who is quietly brilliant in this movie. I may go ahead and become a Coen brothers' completist.
Braised Pork Chops with Cabbage and Apples
4 bone in pork chops (about 3/4 - 1 inch thick)
1 onion, sliced
1 large apple, sliced
1/2 head green cabbage
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
12 oz. hard cider (I used Harpoon)
1 heaping tbsp. grainy mustard
1/4 c. scallions, sliced on the bias
1 tbsp cornstarch, optional
2 tbsp water, optional
1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil until shimmering, salt pork chops and sear until browned on both sides, but not cooked through.
2. Set pork chops aside and add another tablespoon of oil if needed (my pork chops were very lean) and reduce heat to medium. Cook onions until medium brown.
3. Add cabbage and apple and cook until slightly wilted. A deep fond will have developed in the pan.
4. Turn heat up to high and add half the cider, stirring vigorously to deglaze the pan. Add remaining cider.
5. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add pork chops back in, partially submerging.
6. Cover and cook 60-90 minutes.
7. When pork chops finish cooking, remove gently and stir in in mustard. If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken with a slurry of cornstarch and water.
8. Serve topped with scallions.