Did you know October is Pork Month? We’re celebrating by making our favorite pork dishes, including Rosemary Apple Butter Pork Chops. Plus, local pig farmer and registered dietitian Charlotte Rommereim gives us the scoop on how she raises pigs, the truth about hormones in pork and the many nutritional benefits of the other white meat.
Tell us about your family farm.
My husband Steve and I are the fifth generation on our farm near Alcester. Our farm has been in my family since my great-great grandfather, Gustav Nilson, emigrated from Sweden in 1874. Our family farm has raised pigs for more than 100 years. We also grow corn and soybeans. My husband operates the farm, and I work as a registered dietitian.
How do you keep your pigs comfortable and safe?
Our farm operation uses many types of housing to keep our pigs safe and comfortable. Steve and I choose to raise our pigs indoors in a barn where we can control the environment and protect them from the weather. Our pigs have food and water available at all times, and we visit them daily to monitor them.
What do you feed your pigs to keep them healthy?
Swine nutritionists formulate our pigs’ diets to make sure they have the optimal nutrients for each stage of their growth. This includes eating some of the soybeans we grow on our farm. As a dietitian, I compare it to how our children’s diets change as they grow to adulthood. Pigs require different feed formulations for each stage of growth.
Do you ever use hormones to help them grow?
The truth is hormones are never allowed in raising pigs or poultry. The federal government prohibits it and actually states this on the meat packaging labeled “hormone-free” in the grocery. We never give our pigs hormones because it is against the law.
How does pork fit into a healthy diet?
Protein is a very important nutrient and many are trying to include more of it in their diets. Pork provides high quality, nutritious protein at a reasonable price that fits into a healthy dietary pattern. As a dietitian, I recommend Pork’s Slim 7, which is a list of lean pork cuts. This includes my favorite, the pork tenderloin, which is leaner than a skinless chicken breast. Pork is also an excellent source of thiamine, selenium, niacin, phosphorus and vitamin B6.
Time to sizzle up some delicious and hormone-free pork chops for dinner. Just watch this video to learn how. Looking for another pork option? We also have a pork tenderloin recipe that’s sure to please.
Rosemary Apple Butter Pork Chops
- 2 pork chop fillets
- salt and pepper
- 4 tbsps Butter divided
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 red apples cored and sliced
- 1 29-oz. jar apple butter
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- Season both sides of each pork chop with salt and pepper.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
- Place seasoned pork chops into skillet and cook each side for 3 minutes.
- Place pork onto a plate and allow to rest while you cook the apples.
- Using the same skillet, melt remaining butter.
- Add apple slices and allow to cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Pour jar of apple butter, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, smoked paprika and rosemary sprigs into skillet. Stir to combine.
- Add in the whipping cream and continue to stir. Bring to a light boil.
- Add pork chops back to skillet making sure the bottoms touch the skillet.
- Spoon apple butter mixture onto pork chops.
- Cook each pork chop for about 5 more minutes on each side to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Continue spooning apple butter over pork.
- Plate meal when done and enjoy!