What a bland world it would be without the humble onion. A vegetable we take for granted because it compliments almost any savory dish, is abundant year round, reasonably priced and lasts for months in the fridge. But, look a little closer and there are so many varieties to choose from. Before the "sweet" Vidalia onion came along, onions were all "hot" or sharp and spicy in flavor. Then, in the 1930's, a farmer in Georgia figured out how to make onions flavorful, but mild and sweet. So now onions are in two categories, hot and sweet. My choice time and again is a big georgous sweet Vidalia onion.
Lucky for us, Vidalia onions are in season right now. The season is a long one from April-November when the soil is rich down in Georgia. But honestly, sweet onions are so popular, there are now many brands and they're sold year around. Since the original Vidalias are making their way north for the first time this year, why not take advantage of their freshness and abundance?
This recipe, courtesy of Heather Collura, our busy Patch editor, is one she makes all the time. It's especially convenient when she only has an hour between breaking news in town and council meetings at night (proper nourishment is tantamount for those nightime council meetings!).
While the onions are from Georgia, try to buy organic apples this time of year. Apples right now are typically shipped in from South America and the organic ones are pesticide free. This is a good thing since the healthy skin is part of the recipe. Heather loves to serve little red boiled potatoes as a side with the pork chops. She says they look just like the apples and its funny when people don't know if their eating apples or potatoes. It's so funny I could cry, or is it the onions?
Pork Chops with Vidalia Onions and Red Apples
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
2 organic red apples, cored and cut in a large dice
generous pinch of salt
few cranks of pepper
2-4 fresh thyme sprigs
6 center cut boneless pork chops, 1/2-1 inch thick
1 pound small red new potatoes
In a large skillet over medium/high heat, combine 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add onion and saute 5 minutes until tender. Add apples, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir, cover and cook 15 more minutes. Remove and set aside. Remove thyme (the little branches will be left as the leaves fall off and cook into the apple/onion mixture)
Heat 1 tablespoon butter an 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet over medium/high heat. Generously sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Arrange pork chops in a single layer in the skillet. Cook chops 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. Warm apples and onions by placing in skillet and around pork.
While pork chops are cooking, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and continue to boil until fork tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain, cut in half and place in a bowl suitable for serving. Toss with salt, pepper and remaining two tablespoons of butter.
Summit Patch food columnist, Amy Currie, a mother of three and teacher at the Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills, is the author of Memoirs of a Home Cook, Every Great Recipe Has a Story and her latest cookbook, Secrets of a Home Cook. You can e-mail her at email@example.com. Check back every Thursday for the latest installment of Summit Dish.