Friday, June 25, 2010

"I Like Ike!" Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

During the 1952 presidential campaign, Ike’s wife Mamie was by his side every step of the way, delighting crowds with her quick wit and natural charm. Campaign songs were written about her and colorful buttons and posters proclaimed, “I LIKE IKE, BUT I LOVE MAMIE.”

Historians say that one reason Mamie was so popular as First Lady was that she shared the country’s interests and middle-class values. She watched soap operas, played board games, served TV dinners, and encouraged White House cooks to use boxed cake mixes and Jell-O.

Even Mamie’s personal tastes reflected those of the nation. She was a fan of such hit shows as “I Love Lucy” and let it be known that she and Ike liked to eat their dinner on trays while watching television in the private family quarters at the White House. As First Lady, Mamie was proud of her role as a traditional housewife, and was famously quoted as saying, “Ike runs the country, I turn the pork chops.”

This recipe for Thick-Cut Pork Chops with Apples and Onion from is adapted from Mad Hungy by Lucinda Scala Quinn.

4 bone-in thick-cut pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large white onion, sliced
2 to 3 apples, cored and sliced, about 3 cups
1 cup beer, white wine, cider, or chicken broth

Trim any excess fat from the chops and season liberally with salt and pepper. In a very large, heavy skillet (large enough to hold the chops with room to spare, preferably cast iron), heat the oil over high heat. Once it is shimmering and very hot, add the chops carefully and cook undisturbed for a few minutes for a good sear, about 5 minutes. Turn and sear the other side, then remove the chops to a plate.

Turn the heat to medium-low and swirl in the butter, then add the apple and onions. Cook until the onion is golden and the apple is softened, 8-10 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the beer or other liquid. Return the chops to the pan and cook, turning occasionally and covering with the sauce, for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the chops are done.

If desired, remove the chops and turn the heat to high to thicken the sauce. Serve the chops with the sauce draped over them.