Pork Chops with Apple & Whiskey Sauce

Nick visits the butcher shop and the chicken coop and prepares pork chops with apple & whiskey sauce and a pineapple upside-down cake that will rekindle your memory and seduce your palate.

  • 4 pork chops, bone-in, center-cut, totaling 2 to 2½ pounds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra light olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons softened butter (optional)
  • Marinade:
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Whiskey sauce:
    • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
    • ½ cup diced white onion
    • ½ cup diced carrot
    • ½ cup diced celery
    • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes (The tartness of the Granny Smith results in better flavor.)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, loosely packed
    • Pork chop trimmings
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ½ cup tomato sauce
    • ½ cup whiskey
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 cups apple juice
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim the pork chops; save the trimmings for the sauce. Place the chops in a resealable plastic bag. (To help them retain a uniform shape and make them easier to work with, tie a piece of kitchen twine around the sides of each chop before placing it in the bag.) Place the water, sugar and salt for the marinade in a small bowl, stir well to incorporate, and pour over the pork chops in the bag. Seal the bag shut and marinate the pork chops in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Make the Whiskey Sauce (see below) and keep warm.
  3. Preheat the barbecue. If using a gas model, set all the burners to high and close the cover until the internal temperature reaches 500 degrees.
  4. Take the chops out of the marinade and pat dry with a paper towel. Discard the marinade. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper to taste. Brush each side of the pork chops with the extra light olive oil. You do not need to use all of it.
  5. Reduce the heat on the grill to medium and cook the chops for 3 to 4 minutes per side with the cover down. (Alternatively, you can cook the chops in a hot sauté pan with 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side.) Place the chops on a tray and cover with foil.
  6. Bring the Whiskey Sauce to a boil in a saucepan large enough to hold all of the chops. Add the chops and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chops, basting them with the sauce, for 2 to 3 more minutes over medium-low heat. Once they’ve finished cooking, remove the twine.
  7. Place each chop in an individual serving dish. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat, and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes until it thickens to the desired consistency. Add the optional butter, swirling it in the pan until it melts completely. Pour the Whiskey Sauce over the chops, and serve. Baked asparagus see and mashed potatoes make perfect accompaniments.
  8. To prepare the Whiskey sauce: 
    1. Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan and cook over high heat until it starts to sizzle. Add the optional red pepper flakes, the onion, carrot, celery, apple, fresh herbs and pork chop trimmings; reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring well, for 3 to 4 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic and the tomato sauce, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring well.
    2. Add the whiskey and the Worcestershire sauce, and increase the heat to high. Stir well until reduced by two-thirds, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the apple juice and chicken stock; bring to a boil, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes.
    3. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, pushing the pulp through with a rubber spatula and trying to extract as much liquid as possible.
    4. Bring the strained sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the liquid reduces by about one-third and reaches a thick consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to use it, or store, covered, in the refrigerator once it cools down. The sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead.