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Thanksgiving Recipe: Pork Chops in Apple Butter Mole

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Calvin Trillin has lobbied to replace the Thanksgiving turkey with spaghetti carbonara --something to do with Columbus being Italian, I think. In the Tex-Mex Cookbook, I pointed out that Juan de Onate and his Mexican pioneers held a Tex-Mex thanksgiving in El Paso decades before the Pilgrims ran into Plymouth rock. So there's plenty of precedent to skip cooking turkey.

Here's a lovely pork chop recipe for Thanksgiving. The sauce was inspired by my father, who was an apple butter fanatic. We always had some in the refrigerator. Apple butter goes great with dried chiles and it looks like mole -- which is why I call this sauce apple butter mole.

The recipe, after the jump.

Pork Chops in Apple Butter Mole (from Nuevo Tex-Mex)

Serves 4

  • 1 apple, cored and sliced into 8 wedges
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1 guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 chipotle chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 cup apple butter
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 pork chops, 1/2 pound each

Heat the grill. In a small bowl, combine the apple, lemon juice and water. Set aside for the garnish. In a medium-size skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and the guajillo and chipotle chiles and sauté for 2 to 4 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the apple butter, cinnamon, and chicken stock. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.

In the same skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until it bubbles. Pour the sauce from the blender into the hot butter and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to sear the sauce. Keep warm. On the heated grill, cook the pork chops, turning a couple of times, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or to desired doneness.

Spoon a generous amount of the sauce onto each of 4 plates and put 1 grilled pork chop on each. Drain the apple pieces and place 2 apple wedges on each pork chop. Serve at once.

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