Thank you to Oregon Berries for sponsoring today’s post.
Pork chops and applesauce is a classic dish made better with the addition of plump, juicy, blackberries. This recipe uses easy to find Oregon blackberries straight from the freezer. Combined with apples, orange zest, ginger, and rosemary, this blackberry applesauce is a tasty treat on it’s own. Served up with pan seared, oven roasted pork chops it’s a delicious dish that will delight your taste buds and impress all of your foodie loving friends. Make it for a Sunday supper, or make the blackberry applesauce in advance and try it up a weeknight. Read on for my tips and tricks or scroll straight to the recipe and start cooking!
By now I’m sure all of you know that I love comfort foods. Dishes that give you a bit of nostalgia for how things were when you were younger and things were simpler. While I didn’t grow up eating pork chops and applesauce on a regular basis, it’s always been one of those dishes that I’ve always associated with the comforts of fall.
Today, I’m taking that classic dish, and with the help of frozen Oregon blackberries, I’m elevating it into a dish that I like to call gourmet comfort food. It’s the kind of comfort food that has layers of flavors. The stuff that tantalizes your taste buds without overfilling your belly, leaving you satisfied and warmed from the inside out.
I hope that my take on pork chops and applesauce with blackberries is a dish that you will come back to all season long. Try yours with my balsamic glazed brussels sprouts or screaming skillet green beans, for a wholesome dinner the whole family will love.
If you’ve ever purchased frozen blackberries at your local grocery, chances are that they came from here in Oregon, where we produce 90% of US grown frozen blackberries. Why Oregon? Well, we have the perfect growing climate for blackberries. Warm days and cooler nights lead to juicier, sweeter berries, that simply taste better. Better berries are better ingredients, and better ingredients always means better food.
Not only does Oregon berries supply the best tasting berries in your freezer section, they also supply the berries for some of my favorite berry products. Like the Graeter’s Black Raspberry ice cream that I grew up on in Kentucky (and can’t seem to find out here!) and Two Towns Made Marion cider, which has become one of my local favorites. Learn more about Oregon Berry Brands here and look for the Oregon seal on berries at your local store.
Oven Roasted Applesauce with Blackberries
This blackberry applesauce is sweet, but not too sweet, with a chunky texture and notes of ginger, orange, and rosemary. It takes forty five minutes to an hour for the fruit to cook down and the flavors to meld together. It’s best served warm, but it can easily be made in advance and then reheated when ready to serve.
You can use any kind of apples you want, but be aware that they apples you choose can change the texture of the sauce. For a chunky sauce use an apple that is recommended for baking as it will hold its shape. Fuji, Granny Smith, or Honey Crisp apples are all good examples. If you want a smoother sauce pick apples that are perfect for applesauce, like Braeburn, Jonathan, or McIntosh, as these are more likely to get mushy when baked.
Pan Seared Oven Roasted Pork Chops
In order to get a juicy tender pork chop with a crusty, brown, edge, cook them in two phases. Once on the stove top in a hot pan, and then in the oven to get the internal temperature up to 145 degrees. Instead of heating oil in the pan, that can then begin to smoke, I like to oil the pork chops themselves. For these chops, the oil in the spice rub is enough to do the job.
I used a 12″ skillet for mine, but I did them in batches of two. Searing them off two at a time gives them plenty of room to cook without producing too much liquid. Once all four are seared, let the pan cool slightly, then place arrange all four chops into the pan. Cook them until they reach an internal temp of 145 degrees, which should take 7 – 10 minutes.
If browning isn’t important to you, you can fully cook these chops in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes
Tips and Tricks
- The blackberry applesauce can be made a 3 days in advance. Reheat in the oven with your pork chops for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees, on the stove top for 3 – 5 minutes over a medium flame, or in the microwave.
- If you are making it all at once, place the pork chops into the oven as the applesauce comes out. This give the applesauce just enough time to cool slightly before you serve it.
- Stir the applesauce every 15 minutes to keep it from sticking to the pan.
- Cooking times for the pork chops are base on 1″ thick, bone-in, pork chops. Pork chops without bones, or that are thinner, will cook faster.
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Pork Chops and Applesauce with Blackberries Recipe
Blackberry applesauce with hints of ginger, rosemary, and orange elevate the classic pork chops and applesauce into something elegant. Fancy enough to impress your foodie friends, but delicious for a weeknight meal as well.
This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups of applesauce, which is between 1/3 – 1/2 cup per preson. Leftover blackberry applesauce is great on it’s own, but also yummy stirred into oatmeal, served over greek yogurt, or as fruity ice cream topping. For more blackberry recipes check out my Blackberry Lime Tart or my Wild Blackberry Muffins.
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Pork Chops and Applesauce with Blackberries
- 1.5 lbs apples 4 - 5 apples
- 1 1/2 cups frozen Oregon blackberries
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger root
- 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp honey*
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 4 1" thick bone-in pork chops
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp fresh ginger root
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Peel and chop apples into 1/2" chunks. Zest orange and mince or grate ginger. Combine apples, blackberries, ginger, and orange zest. Toss to combine. Pour into an 9" x 5" pan. Add in the rosemary sprig and drizzle the honey on top.
- Place applesauce in the hot oven and roast for 45 minutes to an hour, pulling it out every 15 minutes to stir. Be careful not to break up the rosemary when stirring.
- When the fruit is soft, remove it from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the rosemary spring, then use a potato masher or fork to mash the applesauce. If you prefer a smoother sauce, run it through a food mill or press it through a sieve.
- While the applesauce bakes prepare the pork chops. Pat the pork chops dry. Zest the orange. Mince or grate the ginger. In a small bowl combine together the olive oil, orange zest, ginger, salt, and pepper. Diving the rub into 4 equal parts and rub evenly over each pork chop.
- When the applesauce has 15 minutes left, preheat a 10 or 12 inch skillet over a medium high flame. Once hot, sear the pork chops for about 60 - 90 seconds per side. To avoid crowding the pan, sear the chops two at a time. Once seared, set aside until the apple sauce comes out.
- When the applesauce comes out of the oven, place all 4 pork chops in the skillet together an roast until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, approximately 7 - 10 minutes. Allow pork chops to rest 3 minutes before serving.
- Plate each pork chop with 1/3 - 1/2 cup of applesauce. Serve while the pork chops are hot and the applesauce is still warm.