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Smoked Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Sauce

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Thick cut pork chops are cooked on the smoker and then reverse seared in a hot cast iron skillet with Filippo Berio Olive Oil. To complement this dish, fresh, seasonal fennel and apples, sauteed in olive oil, are used to make a sauce for drizzling. Garnish with fresh dill fronds and serve with sauteed apples for a complete meal.

We partnered with Filippo Berio to make this delicious, sustainability-focused Smoked Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Sauce. What we love most about this recipe is that it features Fall seasonal produce and zero-waste. Filippo Berio Olive Oil is the perfect choice for making this dish because (aside from producing high quality olive oil in Italy) they are committed to sustainability. They’ve recently partnered with research facilities to explore innovative ways to make olive oil more sustainable. For example, protecting olive trees, olive groves, enhancing biodiversity, and production efficiency. Learn more about Filippo Berio’s sustainability practices.

Eating Sustainably and Seasonal Produce

Animal products (meat, milk, eggs, etc.) make up a significant portion of our diet. That’s why lately we’ve made an effort to eat more sustainably by incorporating fruits and vegetables into our recipes, like the apples and fennel featured in this dish. Furthermore, we are opting for more sustainable options for eating meat such as pork, poultry, and fish. Pork production, for example, uses 75% less water than beef production, which makes it a little better on the environment.

Another way we are eating sustainably is by buying local and buying in-season. There are dozens of farmer’s markets in Maryland offering fresh seasonal produce year long. If you do not live near a farmer’s market you can also look for signs at the grocery store that indicate the food is locally produced. Starting your own garden is another great way to eat sustainably. 

Right now apples and fennel are both in season, and together they are the perfect pairing with pork chops. We also reduced food waste by using every part of the fennel, from the bulb to the fronds. It’s the perfect recipe for sustainable eating that incorporates a brand we love and the food we crave without sacrificing flavor. 

Reverse Sear Pork Chops

We used a method called reverse sear to make these pork chops. Reverse sear means smoking (or cooking in the oven) followed by searing in a hot pan on the stovetop. This is one of our favorite ways to prepare pork chops and other meats such as steak because it cooks the meat perfectly and gives it a perfect golden brown crust. If you don’t have a smoker you can set up a charcoal grill for indirect cooking and add smoker wood to the coals, then follow the same instructions for cooking. Alternatively, you can roast the chops in the oven at the same temperature before searing. 

When it came to searing the pork chops, we heated 2 tablespoons of Filippo Berio Olive Oil in a hot cast iron skillet over medium high heat. This process should take around 4 to 5 minutes per side to achieve the desired golden brown crust. Olive oil is perfect for searing and sauteing! 

Apple Fennel Sauce

Pork chop and apples are a classic combination, but when paired with fennel, it elevates the flavor of the entire dish. Since we are focused on sustainability, not only did we select two seasonal ingredients, but we also made sure to use every part of the fennel, from the bulb to the fronds. Note: Apple cores can be composted. 

First, we sauteed fennel and apples with Filippo Berio Olive Oil in a cast iron skillet. Next, we mixed in brown sugar and continued sauteing until the sugar dissolved. We set aside ⅓ of the sauteed apples to be served with the final dish, and transferred the rest of the ingredients into a high speed blender. Finally, we added chicken broth and lemon juice to the blender and processed until smooth and creamy.

Eating sustainably doesn’t have to be a challenge. As you can see, we were able to incorporate several sustainable ingredients into this flavorful dish. Filippo Berio Olive Oil was the obvious choice because of their commitment to sustainability in production practices. It’s a simple pantry staple that can make a big difference in the way we eat and on the planet. Eating seasonally, buying local, and opting for sustainable meats including pork, poultry, and fish are all part of sustainability. We hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did! Be sure to tag us @cookswithsoul on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtag #cookswithsoul.

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Smoked Pork Chops with Apple Fennel Sauce

  • Author: cooks with soul

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 1 ½-inch thick, bone-in pork chops, about 1-pound each
  • 2 tablespoons Soul Food Seasoning (“Soul Dust”)
  • 6 ounces fennel (bulb and fronds)
  • 4 tablespoons Filippo Berio Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 gala apples, cored and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 ounces chicken broth
  • Juice from ½ lemon


Instructions

  1. Preheat the smoker to 250 F.
  2. Season chops with Soul Food Seasoning (“Soul Dust”) on all sides.
  3. Place chops on smoker and cook until the internal temperature reaches 140 F. Set chops aside and rest for 15 mins.
  4. While chops are resting, slice fennel bulb and fronds. Set fronds aside to be used later as a garnish.
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of Filippo Berio Olive Oil in a cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Add apples and fennel to skillet and sauté in oil for 5 minutes, or until soft.
  7. Stir in brown sugar and cook for 2 minutes more, or until dissolved.
  8. Transfer 1/3 of the apple slices to a plate and set aside.
  9. Put the remaining apples and fennel in a high-speed blender or food processor.
  10. Pour in chicken broth and lemon juice and blend until smooth; set sauce aside.
  11. After the chops have rested, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of Filippo Berio Olive Oil over medium high heat in the same skillet.
  12. Sear chops on all sides until a golden-brown crust has formed.
  13. Plate pork chops and top with Apple Fennel Sauce. Garnish with dill fronds and serve with reserved sauteed apples.

8 Comments

  1. My late mother used to make pork chops with jarred applesauce, so this elevated version really prompted me to make it. I loved that reverse sear technique. My ribs came out so tender and juicy.

  2. Omg, the apple fennel sauce is to die for!!! Kinda want to drink it lol. And I’ll now only reverse sear my pork chops. Made a big difference compared to searing on the stove first.

  3. I made this dish a few weeks ago to much fanfare! We rarely eat pork so the flavorful dish was a welcome change of pace.

  4. Spectacular recipe!! I love pork chops and your recipe elevated the cut! I bought Filippo Berio Olive Oil just to get the exact result you did and my effort was indeed rewarded! Thank you for sharing

  5. That apple fennel sauce was absolutely delicious! It made these pork chops such a hit!

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