Food & Drink

Apple butter, cider vinegar provide some zip to this pork meal

Using apple butter to flavor succulent pork chops provides a variation on a down-home favorite. Quick barley and lima beans make a crunchy and unusual side dish.

Apple butter is a thick preserve made by slowly cooking apples, sugar and spices together. Adding a little horse-radish and apple cider vinegar creates a great sauce for pork.

For this recipe, I bought a jar of apple butter. If you have time, you can make your own in the microwave. Combine cored and quartered McIntosh apples with brown sugar, cinnamon and a little nutmeg. Cover and microwave on high 10 minutes (for 1 pound apples) pass through a food mill and return to the microwave, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until thick. Add more cinnamon and nutmeg, if needed. Other supermarket products that make this a fast, healthy dinner are lean, butterflied pork chops and quick-cooking barley. Butterflying means cutting the pork chops almost in half and opening them like a book so they are thinner and cook more quickly. These can be found, already butterflied in many markets.

Barley usually takes about 40 minutes to cook, a quick-cooking version takes only 10 minutes. I combined it with frozen lima beans for a hearty side dish.

Helpful Hints:

— Any type of pork chop can be used.

— If pork chops are thick, cut them in half horizontally.

— A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees when pork is cooked.

Countdown:

— Start barley.

— Prepare pork ingredients.

— Finish barley.

— Make pork.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestions: Pork with apple butter is a sweet and savory dish that would go nicely with a slightly sweet white wine such as a chenin blanc.

Shopping List:

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Quick Fix dinner.

To buy: Olive oil spray, 3/4 pound butterflied, boneless center cut pork loin chops; 1 small jar apple butter; 1 small bottle prepared horseradish; 1 package quick-cooking pearl barley. 1 bottle dried rosemary and 1 small package frozen lima beans.

Staples: Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and black peppercorns.

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