Seriously Simple: Pork chops are perfect for quick holiday meals
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons oil
6 center cut pork chops with bone on, 1 1/2 inches thick about 3/4 pound each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup apple brandy
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
1. To start the sauce: Bring the dried fruit, apple juice and water to a boil on high heat. Remove from the heat and let soften for 10 minutes.
2. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat. Saute the leeks for about 5 to 7 minutes or until softened and lightly browned. Add the apple pieces and saute another 2 to 3 minutes or until nicely coated. Add the softened fruit mixture and broth. Simmer on medium heat for 5 more minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Reserve.
3. In another large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of butter and the 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan on medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Saute the chops for about 5 minutes and then turn over with tongs. Continue cooking until browned and just cooked through, about another 3 minutes. Place the chops on a platter and cover with foil.
4. Discard the drippings. Over medium heat (with the overhead fan turned off), add the apple brandy to the pan and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits. Add the reserved fruit sauce and mustard, and bring to a simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes (or until the alcohol has burned off). Add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning.
5. Return the pork chops to the pan and spoon sauce over the chops. Braise for about 3 more minutes or until the pork is heated through but still tender. Garnish with parsley, and serve immediately.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including "Seriously Simple Parties," and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)