Sponsored by Cabot Creamery Co-operative. I’ve heard it said that polenta is a dish and grits is a grind. The general rule of thumb for making slow-cooked grits is using a 3-to-1 to 4-to-1 ratio of liquid to grits. You can use water, stock or heavy cream as the liquid, but you must season the grits before they boil. There’s a symbiotic relationship between corn and pigs and that why I think they taste so good together.
For the cheese grits: Stir together 2 cups of the chicken stock and the cream in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Stir in the garlic, thyme leaves and 1 teaspoon salt until the salt dissolves. Rain in the grits, stir well and let them come to a simmer. Once you reach a simmer, reduce the heat to low and stir every 2 minutes, making sure nothing sticks to the bottom. The grits will take about 20 minutes, so while they’re cooking, let’s make the pork chops.
For the pork chops: Pat the pork chops dry, season generously with salt and pepper and rub with the sage. Place the cornstarch on a large plate for dredging.
Heat a large 9- to 11-inch skillet over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olive oil and swirl to hit all sides. Give the chops a quick dredge in the cornstarch on both sides and carefully place down and away from you in the skillet. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the chops over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chops to a large plate while you finish the sauce.
Turn the heat to high and add the broth and apple juice to the skillet. Bring to a boil while stirring and scraping up all the delicious brown bits from the skillet. Once the liquid reduces by about a quarter, about 2 minutes, turn down the heat to a low simmer, then stir in the heavy cream and butter. Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Return the chops to the skillet, cover, and cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, 2 to 4 minutes.
After simmering the grits for about 20 minutes, taste to make sure they are soft and the raw corn taste has cooked out. Grate the cheese on the large holes of a box grater. Stir the cheese into the grits until melted, taste again and add up to 1 cup of the remaining chicken stock as needed if the mixture is too stiff. Add any additional seasoning as necessary. Pour the cheese grits onto a large platter with medium sides. Top with the pork chops and spoon over the pan sauce. Garnish with the scallions.