Anise Pork with Figs and Apples
- SERVINGS: 4
The sweet licorice flavor of aniseed or fennel seeds adds depth to pork. For the sauce, look for dried figs that are soft and moist. If they seem very dry, soften them in hot water before cutting.
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed aniseed or fennel seeds
- Four 6-ounce boneless pork loin steaks
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 cup 1/4-inch-thick tart apple slices
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 4 dried Calimyrna figs, quartered
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Sprinkle the aniseed on both sides of the pork chops and season with salt and pepper. In a large nonreactive skillet, heat the olive oil until almost smoking. Add the pork steaks and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook the pork until firm and barely pink inside, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer the meat to a plate.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the apple slices and cook, turning, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the orange juice and cook until the apple slices are just tender, about 1 minute. Add the figs and the remaining 6 tablespoons orange juice, increase the heat to moderately high and simmer to blend flavors, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Season the sauce with the vinegar, salt and pepper. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Return the pork and any juices; reheat briefly. Serve at once.
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