- 4 Moody’s bone-in pork chops 1 inch thick (12-14 ounces each)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 4 Gala or Golden Delicious apples
- 2 slices bacon cut into ½ inch pieces
- Pinch nutmeg
- ½ cup Calvados
- 1 ¾ cups apple cider
- 1 ¼ cups chicken broth
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme plus ¼ teaspoon minced
- 2 T unsalted butter
- 2 T canola oil
- ½ to 1 t apple cider vinegar
Evenly sprinkle each chop with ¾ teaspoon salt. Place chops on a large plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
While chops rest, cut two apples into ½-inch pieces. Cook bacon in medium saucepan over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Add shallots, nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently until shallots are softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove from heat, add ¼ cup Calvados and let warm through, about 5 seconds. Wave a lit match over the pan until Calvados ignite, then shake pan gently to distribute flames. When flames subside, 30 to 60 seconds, cover pan to ensure flames are extinguished, 15 seconds.
Add remaining ¼ cup Calvados and repeat flambéing (flames will subside after 1 ½ to 2 minutes; if you have trouble igniting second addition, return pan to medium heat, bring to a bare simmer, remove from heat and try again.) Once flames have extinguished, increase heat to medium high. Add cider, 1 cup broth, thyme sprigs, butter and chopped apples and bring to a rapid simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender and mixture has reduced to 2 1/3 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°. Slice remaining two apples into ½ inch thick rings. Pat chops dry with paper towel and evenly sprinkle each chop with pepper to taste. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until beginning to smoke. Increase heat to high and brown chops on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer chops to large plate and reduce heat to medium. Add apple rings and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ¼ cup of broth and cook, scraping up any browned bits with rubber spatula until liquid has evaporated, about 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat, flip apple rings and place chops on top of the apple rings. Place skillet in oven and cook until chops register 135° to 140°, about 11 to 15 minutes.
Transfer chops and apple rings to serving platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes. While chops rest, strain apple/brandy mixture through fine mesh strainer set in a large bowl, pressing on solids with ladle or spatula to extract liquid. Discard solids (make sure to scrape any apple solids on bottom of strainer into sauce). Stir in minced thyme and season sauce with vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer sauce to serving bowl.
Serve chops and apple rings, passing sauce separately.
Wine pairing: Goes well with a delicate and fruity, or bolder Pinot Noir.