Pan Seared Pork Chops with Balsamic Braised Cabbage, Apples and Onions




Not Your Average Pork Chop

There is no question that Catherine Belme is a Culinary Ninja and this video is proof! She joins me to make a Paleo version of a dish I used to make at The Kincaid Grill in Anchorage, AK. Our chops were twice as thick and we served it with buttered black pepper spaetzle, but I’d argue that the Paleo preparation is as tasty and filling.

If you’re looking for a fancier preparation to impress your date, this could be it. Or, you could approach this as weekly prep, make a big batch of cabbage, apples and onions and sear off a handful of chops to fuel your fitness for the week. As always, be creative, get radical, and have fun!

I’m all about turning Cheechakos into Sourdoughs in the kitchen. If you don’t enjoy cooking, but want to, then follow along and I’ll show you the ropes. Simple dishes like this one are a good place to start as you learn techinques like:

  1. Searing
  2. Braising
  3. Caramelizing
  4. Drizziling

It’s all about mastering the simple stuff. Don’t lose heart, work hard, and have fun.

“Keep It Paleo!”

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Balsamic Braised Cabbage, Apples and Onions

Ingredient List:

  • 2 Thick Cut Pork Chops, 1” minimum, dried with paper towel on both sides
  • 2 Apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Onion, julienne 
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until approximately 350°F. You need a hot pan to achieve the sear on the chops and the caramelization on the apples and onions, so don’t skimp on the heat. You may want to crack a window or cook these outdoors if possible…
  2. Add olive oil to pan, salt the pork chops and place them, salt side down in the oil. Season other side and cook for 3-4 minutes without moving except to be sure there is oil between the pan and the chops.
  3. While chops are cooking, heat a sauté pan over medium high heat, add olive oil, and when oil flows like water when pan is tilted, add the apples and onions. Again, you want to move these as little as possible at first in order to achieve caramelization. But, be careful not to burn them. We want sweet, not bitter.
  4. After 1-2 minutes, begin to stir/toss the apples and onions. Season with salt and pepper and turn heat to medium once caramelization occurs.
  5. Flip pork chops and cook for 2-3 minutes on the second side depending on how thick they are. I like my pork medium-rare/medium. If you like them more well done, then you’ll need to cook them longer.
  6. When chops are done, remove them from pan and set on a plate to rest.
  7. When apples and onions are sweet and tender without breaking apart, remove them from the heat and season one last time with salt and pepper.
  8. Plate the pork chops with your favorite veggie ( I recommend balsamic braised red cabbage),  top them with the apples and onions and give them a final drizzle with aged balsamic.
  9. Enjoy and share with your friends ☺

Balsamic Braised Cabbage

  • 3 Slices Bacon, chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 Onion, julienne
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Aged Balsamic, to taste, I use Villa Manodori

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until approximately 350°F.
  2. Add bacon and garlic and stir constantly to render fat and make sure garlic does not burn. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add onion and cook for 3 additional minutes.
  3. Add Red Cabbage, stir well to coat with rendered bacon fat, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove lid and stir. The purple cabbage color should be seeping into the white vein portion of the cabbage at this point. The goal is to turn the white part completely purple and yield a sweet, delicate flavor in the end. Caramelization will help this process, as will the addition of aged balsamic at the end.
  5. Turn the heat to medium, cover once again and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove lid, stir and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Continue cooking with lid removed, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes longer, or until cabbage is a uniform, deep purple color.
  8. When cabbage is tender to the bite, it is done. At that point, season with salt and pepper one last time and finish with balsamic vinegar to your liking.
  9. Enjoy and share with your friends ☺

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Protein: (5)

We have two thick cut pork chops. Each of these weigh about 6oz each before cooking.  After cooking they weigh about 10oz together.  With one block equaling 1oz, we therefore have 5 blocks from each pork chops.

Carbohydrates: (7)

We get our carbs from our onion and our apples.  One onion gives us about 2 cups total and with 2/3 of a cup equaling one block we get 3 blocks from onions.  Additionally we have 2 apples and with ½ apple equaling one block, we therefore have 4 blocks for a total of 7 carb blocks.

Fats: (9+)

Our fats will come from our olive oil, but since we don’t have an exact measurement, keep track of how much you are using.  We know that 1/3 of a teaspoon equals one block, and there are 9 blocks in one tablespoon.

Balancing Act:

We can break this down into two 5-block protein meals with 3.5 carbs per meal. The fats will be based on how much oil you use to cook this in.  Since the carbs are just a little shy, add the balsamic Braised Red Cabbage (see recipe), and divide by two to bring the carb count up.

Breakdown for Braised Cabbage:

Protein: (1)

We have one protein block from our bacon.  Three slices of bacon equal one block.

Carbohydrates: (5)

We are using ½ head of cabbage.  This gives us about 4 cups worth.  With 1 1/3 of a cup equaling one block, then we end up with 3 blocks from the cabbage.  Additionally we get 2 blocks from the onion.


There are no added fats to this recipe

Balancing act:

This is a great recipe to add to a protein intensive recipe to bring up a carb count.


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