Author Archives: Sarah Wilkins

APRICOT GLAZED PORK CHOPS

APRICOT GLAZED PORK CHOPS

I’m digging this combination of apricot glazed pork, garlic ghee roasted brussels, roasted tri-color carrots with honey and roasted butternut squash! I like to brine my pork chops before searing and roasting for perfectly juicy white meat. It makes such a difference! Oh and now that I’ve had roasted garlic ghee brussels, I don’t think I can eat them any other way! If you’re not a fan of brussels, maybe you just need to try this method because they are seriously crave-worthy. 

Brining your pork chops is an optional step that helps them retain moisture and remain tender after cooking. Don’t be alarmed by the amount of salt listed! Meat only retains 10% of it’s weight in brine, so for two pounds of pork, it can soak up 0.2 pounds or 3.2 fluid ounces of the solution. In this case, we are using 32 fluid ounces of solution so only 10% of the salt (just over half a teaspoon) is actually absorbed. To brine the pork, just heat water, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and garlic cloves until salt is dissolved, then pour over pork chops in a large dish. I let mine sit for half an hour, but you can do up to two hours. Then sear the chops in a well-oiled cast iron skillet until browned (about 2-3 minutes per side). Set aside chops and simmer the glaze ingredients in the same skillet until thickened slightly, then spread over your chops and finish in the oven at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. So yummy!

For the glaze, you can substitute the “no sugar added” apricot jam for peach jam, or swap the apple cider vinegar out for balsamic, or the Dijon for wholegrain mustard, or omit the rosemary or thyme. It’s a really flexible recipe depending on what you have on hand and what you prefer.

When choosing pork, look for “raised without antibiotics” or “no antibiotics ever.” If an animal was administered antibiotics that means it was either sick or around other sick animals. In addition, there is evidence that the use of antibiotics in meat may contribute to immunodeficiencies and antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans. I also recommend choosing pork that’s labeled “naturally-raised” or “pasture-raised” since meat from animals that are allowed to forage and exercise is typically lower in saturated fat and higher in omega-3, a combination that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes. “Organic” is automatically naturally-raised and free of antibiotics as well. The use of added hormones is illegal in the pork and poultry industries, so products labeled “no hormones” are just bragging that they obey the law. 

For the carrots and butternut squash, I simply tossed two pounds of bite-sized pieces with a tablespoon of olive oil, plus kosher salt and black pepper to taste; then broiled them on a baking sheet at 450 degrees F (top rack of the oven) for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through. You can add a tiny drizzle of honey (roughly a tablespoon) to bring out the natural sweetness of the veggies!

For the brussels, I melted one tablespoon of ghee in the microwave for 30 seconds, then tossed one and a half pound of trimmed and halved brussels with the melted ghee, garlic powder, black pepper, and kosher salt; then broiled them on a baking sheet at 450 degrees F (top rack of the oven) for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.  I don’t feel like this simple method for the veggies warrants a typed up recipe, but let me know if you want one 😉

Now, here’s the recipe for the pork! I’d love for you to rate and/or comment below if you try it 🙂

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Apricot Glazed Pork Chops
Makes 6 servings
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. bone-in pork chops
  2. 1/2 cup "no sugar added" apricot jam*
  3. 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar*
  4. 2 tbsp. dijon mustard*
  5. 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary or thyme (optional)
Brine (optional)
  1. 4 cups water
  2. 2 tbsp. kosher salt**
  3. 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  4. 1 tsp. black pepper
  5. 2 bay leaves
  6. *See above for substitutions.
  7. **Meat only retains 10% of its weight in brine.
Instructions
  1. If you are brining the pork chops (recommended), bring brine ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan then cool slightly before pouring over meat.
  2. Let pork sit at room temperature for at least half an hour (up to two hours) before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat.
  5. Remove chops from brine (if using) and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Sear chops in skillet for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.
  7. Transfer chops to a baking dish and set aside.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and add jam, vinegar, mustard, and thyme/rosemary (optional), simmering until thickened slightly.
  9. Pour reduction over chops and roast 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness of chops) or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
  10. Serve with roasted veggies or sides of choice. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. Calories (per serving pork, including optionals): 239kcal, Fat: 5.6g, Sat fat: 1.7g, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 0g, Sugar: 8g, Protein: 33g, Sodium: 327mg
  2. © 2017 No Excuses Nutrition. If you wish to publish this exact recipe digitally (website, blog, ebook) or in tangible format (cookbook, magazine), you must first request permission by emailing noexcusesnutritionllc@gmail.com. If publishing an adapted version with one or more ingredients changed, it is sufficient to mention "inspired by No Excuses Nutrition."
No Excuses Nutrition http://www.noexcusesnutrition.com/
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