Pork Chops with Thyme-Scented Apples over Cheddar Polenta

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup polenta (cornmeal)
  • 3 oz. sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 4 1-inch-thick boneless center-cut pork chops (about 1-1/2 lb.)
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tart apples, cored and sliced into 16 wedges each
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Light brown sugar

TIP:

For even creamier polenta, replace 1 cup of the milk with heavy cream.

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring the milk and a large pinch of salt to a simmer over medium heat.
  2. Slowly whisk in the polenta, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in 1 cup water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thick and creamy, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
  6. Season the pork with salt and cook, flipping once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in a chop close to, but not touching, the bone registers 140°F, about 8 minutes total.
  7. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  8. Add the apple cider, apples, and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to soften, about 8 minutes.
  9. Add brown sugar to taste.
  10. Serve the apples and sauce over the pork chops and polenta.