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Seriously Simple: Pork chops are perfect for quick holiday meals

By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Content Agency on

I'm always looking for easy dinners to pull together during holiday shopping and entertaining madness. Pork chops are perfect for quick meals since they don't take long to prepare. They come from the loin portion of the pig and are available boned and with the bone attached. I prefer the center cut rib chop with the bone attached because the bone adds more moisture to the meat when you cook it; and it also looks pretty. These chops are sauteed and finished with an apple and dried fruit sauce that is as delicious as it is easy to prepare.

If you can find Kurobuta pork chops, they are worth the extra price tag. Kurobuta (Japanese black hog) pork, bred from Berkshire stock, is prized for its dark meat and rich flavor. American Kurobuta pork is lean, yet still has small, fine streaks of marbling that produce a sweet, tender and juicy result. You can usually find this variety at fine supermarkets or meat markets. For more information on Kurobuta pork, check out these snakeriverfarms.com or lobels.com.

While many recipes suggest cooking pork to an interior temperature of 160 F, I have found that is a simply too high. The pork should be slightly pink and at 145 F for both optimum flavor and texture. Trichinosis, a parasite found in pork, dies at 137 F so cooking past that temperature should assure you that your dish would be safe as well as delicious.

Serve these chops with simple buttered noodles, spaetzle or roasted potatoes. A California zinfandel, a gewürztraminer or a big chardonnay would make a nice wine accompaniment.

Tasty tips

--The chops will continue to cook another 5 degrees after you take them off the heat so don't overcook them.

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--This is best prepared just before serving.

Pork Chops with Apple and Dried Fruit Sauce

Serves 6

For the sauce:

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