Christmas is nearly upon us and that probably means your life is so jam-packed that you barely have time to read this post. Not to worry because I barely have time to write it! So, I’ll keep both the post and the recipe short and simple to help us all out. Sometimes simplicity is key when it comes to the holidays!
Now, if someone told me that my last new recipe of 2017 would be pork chops, I would have laughed out loud. Pork chops are definitely not something I make often…or EVER! Why? Because they’re usually dry, tough, and not very flavorful. Or so I thought!
Today’s Apple Cranberry Skillet Pork Chops has definitely improved my opinion of them, since these chops are juicy, packed with sweet and savory flavors, and make a beautiful, rustic main dish to serve before, during, or after Christmas! Pork and cabbage are also a classic New Year’s Day pairing and this 30-minute meal is one you’ll still feel like making even after a late night of ringing in the New Year! So, before your Christmas vacation is in full swing, take a second and check out my latest (and last) recipe of the year!
When I decided to tackle pork chops for my blog, I knew I wanted to feature my cast iron skillet again. I’ve used it for recipes like Paleo Irish Soda Bread and Paleo Skillet Berry Cobbler with great success, but baking and desserts are my comfort zone, since I’m more of a baker and less of a “cook.” This time, I needed to go savory and try something new. I feel like the AIP diet is all about new experiences and challenging oneself with new foods, so it was time to tackle pork chops in my favorite skillet.
Thankfully, the cast iron skillet was the perfect choice for these Apple Cranberry Skillet Pork Chops and they came out wonderfully on the first try! (And if a meat novice like me can make this dish, then anybody can!) The keys to success were a great spice rub for the pork, a sizzling hot skillet, and a mixture of apples, cranberries, onions, and cabbage for festive seasonal flavors.
So, we’ll start with the spice rub. This is an easy one to throw together and I’d recommend it to use on just about any meat! It’s AIP-friendly, too – no nightshade or seed spices involved! Just a mixture of salt, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, and garlic. Season the pork with half of the mixture and then use the remainder to flavor the cooked fruits and veggies.
To ensure your pork stays juicy, make sure you give it a good few minutes to sear and brown on each side. You don’t want to completely cook it right away – just give it a good brown crust on either side so that it holds the juices and flavors in.
And finally, once your pork has browned, you just need to sauté the apples, cranberries, cabbage, and onions and let them cook down and release flavors to make a saucy base for the pork to soak in. After these elements have softened, the pork goes back in to simmer and finish cooking.
The sweetness of the apples, the tartness of the cranberries, and the savoriness of the onions and cabbage really blend well to create a delicious accompaniment to the pork! And the browning of the meat keeps the juices in, so the result isn’t dry or tough pieces of meat. This Apple Cranberry Skillet Pork Chops meal totally gives me a new appreciation for pork chops. I can now add them to my weekly menus without hesitation!
We served our Apple Cranberry Skillet Pork Chops and cabbage with a side of roasted butternut squash and parsnips, but it would be delicious over mashed cauliflower or sweet potatoes. And even though this recipe is simple, it could easily be a dish to serve family and friends for Christmas or New Year’s! So, keep this recipe handy when you need a quick dinner on the table during this crazy holiday rush! And most importantly, make sure to stop and take a moment to enjoy the beauty of Christmas and leave room in your schedule and heart for Christ. After all, He is the reason we’re celebrating Christmas in the first place!
Since I’ll be taking a holiday blogging break, I want to close this post and this year with words of encouragement. Maybe 2017 was one of happiness and triumph or maybe it was a year of sorrow and tribulation. But no matter what this year looked like for you, I hope you can join me in ending it on a positive note, with celebration and thankfulness, since even our hardest years are never void of God’s blessings and faithfulness! Let’s raise a glass to the past, with its joys, trials, and lessons learned, and say cheers to the future, full of hope, new adventures, and opportunities to grow.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for following my Fed & Fulfilled journey this year! I wish you all a healthy, happy, and very delicious Christmas and New Year’s!
- 6 boneless center cut pork chops (about 1 inch thick)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 small apples, peeled, cored, sliced
- ½ head of cabbage, shredded
- 1 onion, halved and sliced thinly
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1¼ cups bone broth, divided
- ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
- extra sea salt to taste
- Mix spices together in a small bowl, then use half the mixture to season the pork.
- Heat coconut oil on medium/high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Brown chops for 3 min per side. Remove onto a plate.
- Add in onions and sauté for 2 minutes, then add cabbage and ¼ cup bone broth and cook for 3-4 minutes, until cabbage starts to wilt.
- Add in apples and cranberries and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until apples soften slightly. Add in remaining bone broth, maple syrup, applesauce, cider vinegar, and leftover spice mixture.
- Then, make wells in the skillet and put pork chops back in. Cover with apple/cabbage mixture and cook for 10 minutes on medium/low heat, turning pork once halfway through.
- Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, thyme, and extra sea salt, if desired.
~This is delicious served with cauliflower mash, roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes!