Smothered Pork Chops Braised in Cider With Apples
from Cover and Bake by America's Test Kitchen
4 slices bacon
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup apple cider
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 pork chops
salt and black pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/3 inch slices
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it is lightly browned and the fat is rendered, about 6-8 minutes.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a small plate.
Reduce the heat to medium low and gradually stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, making sure to work out any lumps that may form.
Continue stirring constantly, reaching into the edges of the pan, until the mixture is light brown, 4-6 minutes.
Add the apple cider in a slow, steady stream while vigorously stirring.
Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over high heat.
Meanwhile, pat the chops dry with a paper towel (so they will brown) and season generously with salt and pepper.
Place the chops in the pan in a single layer and cook until a deep brown crust forms, about two minutes.
Turn the chops over and cook for another two minutes.
Remove the chops from the pan and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, apples and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Cook, stirring frequently and scraping and browned bits from t he bottom and edges of the pan, until the onions soften and begin to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Return the chops to the pan in a single layer and cover each chop with the onions and apples.
Pour in the warm sauce, add the bay leaves, and cover with a tight fitting lid.
Reduce the heat to low and cook until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the chops to a warmed plate and cover with foil.
Increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens to a gravy-like consistency, 4-6 minutes.
Stir in the parsley.
Plate the chops, and cover each chop with a portion of the sauce.
Chop the bacon and sprinkle over each chop.