Apple & Sage Brown Butter Pork Chops

I recently joined a contest over at Food52 (one of my favorite cooking blogs/websites) that challenged participants to submit their best recipe involving brown butter. I threw my recipe for sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter sauce into the mix on a whim.

But then I started reading up on the contests and how they work. It’s actually pretty neat! Anyone can submit a recipe to a contest, and then the top entries are put up for testing. Other site members then sign up to be recipe testers and provide feedback. The staff narrows the field through further testing, and then the top two recipes go into a public vote to decide the winner.

So, I also signed up to be a tester for this recipe for Apple & Sage Brown Butter Pork Chops from Food52 user Donna. I liked the simple ingredients list and the fact that everything cooks in the same pan. I was also intrigued by the touch of cinnamon!

Because I was testing, I made the recipe as written with the exception that I couldn’t find the crushed rosemary (so I mashed regular rosemary with a mortar and pestle a bit before using) and used eight small chops instead of six so that we could have two dinners out of it.

Find the original (and a printable version) on Food52.

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Apple & Sage Brown Butter Pork Chops

Yield: 4

Calories per serving: 366

Fat per serving: 15 g

Carbs per serving: 10 g

Protein per serving: 44 g

Apple & Sage Brown Butter Pork Chops


  • 6-8 thin-cut pork chop cutlets (the boneless kind)
  • 1 Gala apple, sliced thin
  • 1/3 onion, sliced thin
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried, crushed rosemary (Donna says: “McCormick makes it, that way you don’t end up with twigs in your food.”)
  • Water (or apple cider)
  • Dash of cinnamon (I used maybe 1/4 tsp)
  • Pinch of brown sugar (I used about 1 tsp)


  1. In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until it browns, then add the sage and cook 15-30 seconds more.
  2. Add the onion and lower the heat; cook low and slow until caramelized.
  3. Add the apples and stir to coat them in butter. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar and stir again.
  4. Push the onion and apples out of the way and add the chops to the pan. Brown on both sides.
  5. Add a little water or cider to the pan if it seems dry and cover. Cook for a few minutes to soften the apples and ensure that the chops are cooked through.

My thoughts:

  • Taking the time to brown the butter and caramelize the onions at the beginning of the recipe really adds a lot of flavor and richness to a pretty lean piece of meat. I liked the fall spices and the cinnamon was a nice touch.
  • The original recipe never mentioned salt and pepper, and the dish ended up being quite sweet. We added salt and pepper at the table and it balanced out nicely. In hindsight, perhaps that was meant to be understood, but I wanted to follow the directions to the “T” as a tester. Next time, I’d season the onion/apple mix and the pork chops as they cooked.
  • My chops didn’t so much sear as steam, and only a few edges truly browned. I think the onions and apples were giving off too much liquid at that point and preventing a good sear. If I made this recipe again, I think I’d brown the pork chops right after the butter, then remove them before cooking the onions. Then I’d add them back to the pan with the liquid in step 5.

Best of luck to Donna and the rest of the contest participants! Finalists will be announced on December 18.

5 thoughts on “Apple & Sage Brown Butter Pork Chops

  1. Wow! I am so happy you liked my recipe! You are correct, I did forget to include the salt when I submitted my recipe – how embarrassing. I like to make my apple slices a bit thicker than you made them, gives a little tooth to them (not exactly a crunch) and there is less liquid released that way. I wish I had had a photo to submit with the entry. I really appreciate your post. Buon appetito!

    1. Oh, thanks for the tip on the apples. I wanted to ask, but by the time the question occurred to me…the onions were already in the pan on the stove! Now I know for next time. 🙂

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