Pork with apples is a classic combination for good reason, and celebrity chef Tanya Holland has a delicious upgrade to add to your fall food lineup.
The soul food expert and restaurateur joined “Good Morning America” with two dishes from her new cookbook “California Soul.”
Check out the full recipes for Holland’s pimento cheese popovers and apple cider brined pork chops below.
Pork chops and apples is a longtime comfort cuisine classic, but this version looks at this familiar pairing in a whole new way. This brine is the perfect balance of acid, sugar, and salt. Searing the apples in a cast-iron skillet gives them texture, and the cider glaze ties the whole dish together.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes, plus 30 minutes for brine cooling and 4 to 24 hours for brining
Apple cider brine
2 cups water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
7 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cracked pepper
4 cups apple cider, chilled
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Four 1 1/2-inch-thick, bone-in pork chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices, skin on
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
To make the brine: Heat the water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the salt, maple syrup, three of the bay leaves, and the cracked pepper and stir until the salt is totally dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the cold apple cider. Cool to room temperature.
Place the brine in a resealable bag or baking pan. Add the pork chops and make sure they are submerged in the brine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Add the onion and garlic powders, and the remaining four bay leaves to a spice grinder. Grind to a fine powder. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry. Reserve 1 cup of the brine. Coat the chops with the spice mix.
In a large cast-iron pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add two of the chops and cook until golden brown, about four minutes. Flip the chops and cook until golden on the other side, 2 more minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining two pork chops. Place the chops in the oven and cook until they reach 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
In a cast-iron pan, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add half the apples, season with salt and pepper, and cook on one side until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown.
Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining 1 and a half tablespoons butter and the remaining apples. Remove the apples and add the reserved 1 cup brine to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by two-thirds, about 6 minutes.
Serve the chops topped with apples and the reduced brine.
Yield: 12 popovers (1 cup pimento cheese)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

“If you’ve ever traveled down South, I hope you’ve enjoyed some piquant pimento cheese. Here, a mixture of sharp Cheddar cheese, cream cheese, onion, and pickled jalapeños add richness to a simple popover,” Holland wrote alongside the recipe in her book. “The pimento cheese can be served with crackers, toasted bread, or crudités.”

Pimento cheese
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill pickles

For the popover dough
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


Place a wire rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 F.

To make the pimento cheese: In a large bowl, mix together the cheddar cheese, cream cheese, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeño, onion, garlic, and dill pickles until thoroughly combined. This mixture can be made up to 1 day in advance, but it should be at room temperature when making the popovers.

To make the popovers: Place a 12-well muffin tin in the oven. In a bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined and lightly frothy. Add the milk and salt and whisk until the mixture is very well combined and there is a layer of froth on the top, about 30 seconds of vigorous whisking. Add the flour and whisk just until combined; it’s okay if some lumps remain. Let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk one more time.

Remove the muffin tin from the oven and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each muffin well three-quarters full of batter. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of the pimento cheese, and gently press the cheese down into the batter. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 F and bake an additional 15 minutes, until the popovers are a deep golden brown and well puffed. Do not open the oven during this baking time.

Remove the popovers from the oven and transfer them from the muffin tin to the wire rack. Make a small hole in the bottom of each popover to allow steam to escape. Drop an additional teaspoon of pimento cheese into the top hole of each popover. These are best served immediately.

Reprinted with permission from Tanya Holland’s “California Soul: Recipes from a Culinary Journey West” by Tanya Holland, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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