Nowadays frozen dinners come in all different shaped and sized containers, but in my younger years they were “TV dinners” with standard sectioned-out trays. When I first took the cover off these pork chops with apple gravy, it reminded me of peeling back the foil from one of my favorite TV dinners, pork with baked apples. The heavenly aroma, then and now, clearly told me, “Get ready for comfort food.”
This recipe pairs pork chops with the applesauce you may have canned from the summer’s bumper crop. If you don’t have home-canned applesauce, you can make a small batch just for this dish. For a little more than enough for this recipe, peel, core, and chop two medium apples. Place apple pieces in a small saucepan and add about 2 tablespoons water. No added sugar or seasonings are needed. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth.
If the homemade or purchased applesauce you have hand is chunky style, just mash or process it until smooth.
Arrowroot powder is used to thicken the gravy in this recipe. If you don’t have arrowroot powder, cornstarch will thicken in a similar way. An advantage of arrowroot-based sauces is that they remain stable when frozen; cornstarch-based sauces can break down and become thin when frozen.
|Baked Pork Chops with Apple-Thyme Gravy||
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 4 medium pork chops, boneless or bone-in
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chops and sear until browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove pan from heat.
- Layer browned chops in a casserole dish with a cover or in a baking pan you can cover with foil.
- In a pint-sized jar or small bowl, shake or whisk the arrowroot powder (or corn starch) and water until well-combined.
- Place skillet (the same one used to brown the chops) over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a moment, just until fragrant. Pour the water-starch mixture into the skillet and cook and whisk until thickened and bubbly, about 2 to 5 minutes. As you whisk, scrape any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Add the salt, thyme, applesauce, and lemon juice and stir until heated through and well-combined.
- Pour gravy over chops. Cover and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until tender. Check partway through and baste or rearrange chops if necessary to make sure they’re still covered with gravy.
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