Pork and cabbage are a classic combination, as are pork and apples. Put the three together, and you get something really delightful.
3 teaspoons paprika, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried thyme, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1 tsp. dried sage, divided
6 (1/2-inch-thick) pork loin chops
2 bacon slices
1 head cabbage (about 2 lb.), coarsely chopped
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 (12-oz.) bottle lager beer*
How to Make It
Combine 2 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried sage; rub evenly over pork chops.
Cook bacon slices in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon.
Cook pork in hot drippings 3 minutes on each side or until browned and done; remove pork from pan, and keep warm.
Add cabbage, onions, and apple to pan. Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until cabbage begins to wilt. Add tomato paste, beer, bacon, remaining 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and 1 tsp. fresh or 1/2 tsp. dried sage, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until cabbage is tender and liquid is slightly thickened. Add pork, and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
*1 1/2 cups apple cider may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Samuel Adams Boston Lager.
I prepared this dish for dinner last night. We used apple juice instead of beer (we were out) and found it to be very nice in its relationship. The pork was so tender since it was cooked in the steam for the last 15 minutes and the seasonings added a lot to both the pork and the vegetables. I loved the vegetables and will be having them as my lunch today. (We used the bacon, all the seasonings - maybe a bit more than called for - but no tomato paste.) If you are serving the dish with any other side vegetables, you may want to cut down a bit on the amount of cabbage - maybe 1 to 1 1/2 pounds instead of 2 pounds. it makes a lot of vegetables! We enjoyed it and will be keeping it.
I have made this dish several times over the years. I think its fantastic. I have made it on various date nights & always heard compliments not complaints. I always up the tomato paste & use Sam Adams beer as suggested.
It was okay; I'd make it again, but with some tweeking. While pepper doesn't bother me, (I'm from New Orleans and eat eggs with tabasco for breakfast), using pepper for the sake of using pepper is useless. There was not enough sweet to balence it out. I'd use more apple and cut back a just a little on the sage and thyme, increase the tomato paste and try it in the slow cooker (the cabbage needs to cook down a bit more). It's a mild dish and probably good to throw in the mix every once in a while. I wouldn't call it stellar by any stretch of the imagination.
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