A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Pork & Flying Pigs Farm

January 31st, 2010

I love pork. Whether it’s a chop, a rack of ribs, bacon, sausage, or lardo on my pizza…I eat it all. Last year I had my first taste of porchetta at a Slow Food event. The juicy meat was flavored with fennel pollen and encrusted in a crispy skin; it just melted in my mouth. This year I want to cook many other variations of pork that hopefully will be as tasty as that porchetta.

Since I have been unhappy with most of the pork available locally, I purchased several pork products from Flying Pigs Farm in Upstate New York. Flying Pigs breeds Large Black, Gloucestershire Old Spot, and Tamworth pigs. Their goal is raise heritage pigs the old fashion way resulting in a product that has more moisture and flavor. Although their pork is not cheap, I am very pleased with their quality.

I purchased bacon, sweet Italian sausage, pork chops and a loin roast. I liked the bacon but I don’t think it’s necessarily better than premium brands, like Niman Ranch, which is available locally. The sausage was great; I used it on pizza and in a tomato sauce. The sausage has a course texture and a ton of flavor. I think the sausage made both  the pizza and and the tomato sauce better.

Pork chops are the biggest test because I feel most chops lack fat, and are therefore tasteless and tough. Flying Pigs pork chops were about 3/4 inch thick and had a good amount of fat. My wife, Nora, saw a recipe in Martha Stewart that cooked pork chops in apples and onions, which I thought was a great combination. I didn’t like the recipe quantities or timing, but after several tries I was able modify the recipe to my liking. Below is my version…

The key to a good dish is good ingredients. Note the pork chops below are a healthy thickness and are not too lean. I actually trimmed a bit of the fat around the outside of the pork chop prior to cooking.

Pork Chops

Pork Chops

Pork Chops with Apples & Onions

2 pork chops, 3/4 in.                                1 tbs. olive oil

2 tbs. butter                                                 1 small onion, sliced

2 apples, sliced                                            1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup apple juice                                     1 tsp dried sage

salt & pepper                                               1/4 cup white wine

Trim pork chops of excessive fat then season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat saute pan (stainless will work better than non-stick for browning) and add olive when hot. Add pork chops for 3 minutes per side, cooking on high heat to nicely brown the pork chops. Once browned, transfer to a plate.

Add butter to the pan then add onions; a couple minutes later add the apples. Season with salt and pepper. Once the onions begin to turn translucent add white wine. Once the wine has almost evaporated add the chicken broth, apple juice and the sage. Simmer for about 5 minutes and return the pork chops to the pan.

Pork Chops with Apples & Onions

Cook until the pork chops are tender, which should be about 5 minutes. Flip the pork after 2 minutes to ensure both sides cook evenly. Note that the pork is done when an instant read thermometer registers 145 to 150 degrees. I recommend testing the pork often to ensure that you don’t overcook. Once the desired internal temperature is reached, turn off the heat and let the chops rest in the pan for a minute or two while you plate your other vegetables. Then plate your chops and spoon the apples and onions over the pork. Enjoy!

4 Responses to “Pork & Flying Pigs Farm”

  1. autumn says:

    Sounds and looks great. What type of apples did you like best for this dish?

  2. Ed McAniff says:

    Autumn, I used a granny smith and a pink lady. But I would use the freshest apples available at your market.

  3. Paul says:

    Same reaction, sounds and looks great. I like the photo of what it should look like – gives me an idea of what mine should look like. Thanks.

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