When it comes to fall dinner recipes, it seems like pork and apples go hand in hand. The sweet and savory flavors balance each other perfectly. And there are so many variations on how to bring this dynamic duo to life.
This recipe for Pan-seared Pork Chops with Apple, Fennel & Kale in a Maple Mustard Sauce hits all the right fall notes. The pork is juicy and tender, with a sear on the outside to give it just the right texture. Add to that a bright and tart apple, mild yet spicy fennel, and leafy, crunchy kale. That perfect fall flavor combo gets livened up with warm, savory herbs including fresh rosemary, thyme and sage (my most favorite all of the fall herbs). Finally, everything is coated in a maple and Dijon mustard sauce, bringing together the perfect hints of sweet, tangy and spicy.
Seriously though, maple and mustard has got to be my new favorite seasonal flavor combination. The sweetness and the acidity balance each other perfectly and bring out the best in just about anything you can think to cook it with. From chicken, to sausage, to roasted veggies like squash and Brussels sprouts, you can’t go wrong.
All together, this dish is literally bursting with seasonal flavors. And it proudly joins the list of quick an easy dinner recipes you can whip up in under half and hour on a weeknight. Keep scrolling for the simple steps for pan-seared pork chops with apple, fennel and kale.
Pan-Seared to Perfection
This recipe starts with the pork chops. I like to use bone-in chops, because the bones help keep the meat moist while it cooked, and add so much flavor.
First, preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with some foil (makes for easier clean up). Drizzle a little vegetable oil in a skillet and get it warming up over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, generously salt and pepper your pork chops on both sides.
When the pan is hot, add the chops and sear them until browned on each side, which will take about 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t overcook your pork here, just leave in the pan long enough to get some caramelized color on them.
Immediately transfer the pork chops to the baking sheet, and finish cooking them in the oven, which will take about 10 minutes.
Apples and Fennel and Kale, oh my!
While the pork chops finish in the oven, prep the rest of the dish.
In the same skillet that you used for the pork chops, splash a little more vegetable oil along with half of a diced onion and some minced garlic. Once those get soft and aromatic, stop and take a glorious whiff…. and then keep cooking! Add a chopped up apple, and two chopped fennel bulbs to the skillet and keep cooking for another few minutes until the veggies soften up.
Next, toss in a few handfuls of chopped kale, along with some fresh herbs. Rosemary, thyme and sage are as classic as it gets when it comes to fall flavors. I like to use about a teaspoon of each. Also, add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the skillet to help deglaze the pan if necessary, and add a nice acidic kick. Once the kale is wilted and the vinegar has cooked down, turn off the heat.
Then it’s time to bring everything together. In a small bowl, add equal parts Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Whisk together with a fork to combine the mixture, and then pour it into the skillet with your veggies. Toss until everything is coated.
At this point, your pork chops should be ready to come out of the oven. Serve each one of them up with about a quarter of the veggie mixture smothered on top. And don’t forget to spoon extra sauce over the top as well. Then dig in! This dish pairs well with a hard cider, a sparkling rosé or a nice and light Pinot Noir.
Let me know if you give these Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Apple, Fennel and Kale a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Pan-seared Pork Chops with Apple, Fennel & Kale in a Maple Mustard Sauce
- 4 Bone-In Pork Chops
- Salt & Pepper To taste
- 4 Tsp Vegetable oil Divided
- 1/2 Yellow onion Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Apple Diced
- 2 Fennel bulbs Diced
- 2 Cups Chopped Kale
- 1 Tsp Fresh Rosemary Chopped
- 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme Chopped
- 1 Tsp Fresh Sage Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Add 2 tsp of the vegetable oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops.
- Sear the pork chops in the skillets until browned, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Make sure your stovetop vent is on, as this process may get a little smoky.
- Once the pork is seared, place the chops on the baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven for another 10 minutes.
- In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the vegetable oil, along with the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the apple and fennel and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the kale, the fresh herbs and apple cider vinegar, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until the kale is wilted. Then turn off the heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and maple syrup until combined. Pour over the veggie mixture and toss until everything is coated.
- To serve, spoon about a quarter of the mixture over each pork chop.