Citrus Dijon Pork Chops with Apple, Orange and Fennel Salad

You win some, you lose some. For Sunday’s Supper, I tried a new recipe – it looked fabulous – but was less than what I had hoped for. I’m sure it wasn’t so much the recipe itself as it was me – and my choice of Pork Chops. The chops did not come out as tender and moist as I had expected. Live and learn. Next time I’m going to forgo the packaged Pork Chops in the meat counter and instead buy a good Pork Loin Roast, cutting from it my own chops. I have yet to have a Pork Loin fail me.

The recipe itself was very tasty. I love the crunch of the apples between bites of pork chop. I did make some minor adjustments – increased the orange juice (for the chops), decreased the fennel (in the salad). Fennel is one of those personal things – you either like the licorice flavor or you don’t. I love all things licorice – so for me it was awesome. My guys don’t care much for the taste, which was okay since it meant more fennel for me.

Speaking of fennel – when I was at the market picking up the ingredients for this recipe, in the produce section they had miss labeled the fennel as “Organic Fennel/Anise” as though these were different names for the same vegetable. While both impart a similar black licorice flavor, they are very different plants. Anise is harvested for its seeds, and the plant itself is not edible. Fennel is also harvested for its seeds, but the plant itself is also eaten. It has a wonderful “crunch” and great flavor – especially in salads and stews. When you google images for anise, you will get photos of the Star Anise seeds (again, not anise – star anise are the seeds from a completely different plant – a tree that grown predominantly in the Orient.) Anise is actually more akin to a shrub, while fennel is the vegetable we find in the grocery store. When I pointed this out to the produce clerk, she shrugged and said “same thing.” Okay, just like yams and sweet potatoes.

Anise ( Illicium Floridanum)

Pimpinella anisum aka Anise

Foeniculum vulgare aka Fennel










Citrus Pork with Apple Salad (2)

Citrus Dijon Pork Chops
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
6 pork chops, thick cut/boneless
Salt and pepper for seasoning
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon cold water

In a saucepan, combine orange juice and Dijon mustard over medium heat. Whisk to blend well and bring to a boil.

While the orange juice mix is heating, whisk together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bow and set aside until ready to use.

Once the orange juice comes to a boil, give the cornstarch mixture a final whisk, then whisk into the orange juice and remove from heat. Set aside until ready to use.

In a large skillet or grill pan, heat olive oil and butter, coating the pan well.

Season chops with salt and pepper on both sides, then place in the skillet. Cook over medium heat until just cooked through, about 7 minutes per side. Ladle some of the orange juice mixture over chops, (just enough coat the chops in the sauce), cover skillet and let cook about 5 or 6 minutes longer.

Remove chops from skillet and place on a rimmed serving platter. Pour any pan drippings from the skillet into the remaining orange juice mixture. Whisk to blend the pan dripping for a smooth finish. Pour sauce over the pork chops and serve.

Citrus Pork with Apple Salad (1)Apple, Orange and Fennel Salad
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 apple, cored and sliced (or chopped)
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1 Cup Mandarin Oranges or Navel Orange slices

In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, Dijon Mustard and olive oil.

Toss fennel and apples in dressing.  Transfer to serving platter, top with orange slices and serve with pork chops.

Note: I served my chops and apple salad with a “cheater” side – Uncle Ben’s Quick Wild Rice. Whenever I dabble with a new recipe for the first time, I like a side that is quick – something I don’t need to stress about. Timing is everything and the last thing I want to do is have the side ready while the main dish is still cooking, or the other way around. I’m never really sure how long the main dish will take to cook when cooking something it for the first time. Steamed veggies, a simple salad or in the case one of those “quick” microwaveable 90 seconds rice dishes does the trick. No fuss, no muss and it’s always ready when I am.

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