Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Food Post: Apple Cider Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

With Fall being officially here comes the opportunity to make some of my favorite comfort food. Those meals that are warm and satisfying where all you want to do after you eat is curl up on the couch with a blankie blanket and watch a movie.

This past Sunday I was craving a Fall meal so I looked through my "Eat" Pinterest Board and found a recipe for Apple Cider Pork Chops that I thought would suit my needs. Apple Cider just screams Fall and to pair with this dish I chose Butternut Squash, which I absolutely love.... Perfect! This meal sounds fancy but it is really easy, just a matter of throwing everything in a couple of pans and the squash bakes in the oven while you are preparing the pork. 

*I made a few revisions to the original recipe that turned out really well.

Here's what you will need:

  • 4 bone-in pork loin chops
  • 1–2 tablespoons fresh sage chopped, according to preference
  • 1 pound apples, cored and sliced in ¼-inch slices (you can peel the apples if you wish but I like the skin on)
  • *4 tablespoons butter
  • *1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • *1 tsp ground cloves
  • *1 tsp dried sage
  • *6-7 whole cloves
  • *5-6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • *4 cups cup apple cider (buy the real stuff)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Two packages of pre-chopped butternut squash (I am lazy but by all means, you can use 1 whole squash to de-seed and cut into chucks)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive oil (EVOO works too)
What you'll do:

  • I marinated my bone in pork chops in about 3 cups of apple cider with the whole cloves thrown in and a little ground pepper for about 3-4 hours before hand.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 F. On a baking sheet spread out the chopped butternut squash and drizzle with Olive oil until coated. Give the squash a toss with your hands to make sure it is coated evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and throw it in the oven for 30 mins. So easy!
  • In a large sauté pan or cast iron skillet, melt 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Add the nutmeg, ground cloves and dried sage to the bubbling butter. Pat the pork chops dry on both sides. Add the meat and cook for 3–5 minutes, or until browned. Turn and cook the other side until browned and the pork is ALMOST cooked through (you will cook it through later!). Turn off the heat remove the pork chops and let them rest on a plate covered.
  • In another skillet melt the remaining 2 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add 3 Tbsp brown sugar to the butter and cook for 1 minute, or until it begins to melt. Add the apples and sauté over medium heat until the apples are browned and tender. This should take about 10–15 minutes.
  • Take the squash out of the oven and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp brown sugar. Place back in the oven for about 5 mins under broil.
  • In the pan that the pork chops were cooked in, add the remaining apple cider and cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Add the cream, bring to a boil and allow it to bubble for a few minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened. Sprinkle with fresh sage and season with salt and pepper if desired. Add your almost cooked pork chops to the sauce (make sure you add in all those juices to the sauce, great flavor!) and allow them to cook for 1-2 more mins until done.
  • By the time your Apple Cider Pork Chops are done, your squash should be ready. If serving immediately, spoon the caramelized apples on top of the pork in the pan. Alternatively, you can pass the apples separately at the table and portion them out directly on the dinner plates. Make sure you get some of the sauce that your pork cooked in on the plate as well. To. Die. For!

Now that I have typed out this recipe, it looks like it's a lot of work. But I didn't think so when making this meal. It's not the type of meal that you can step away from but really it is just frying ingredients in a pan, the oven does the work for you with the squash and then you just combine everything at the end so it's not as bad as it looks, I promise you!
It tasted rich and hearty, sweet and savory - everything that you would want in a Fall meal. I totally forgot how much I love sage too; such a unique tasting herb that compliments pork so beautifully. The ONLY thing that I would change next time is I wouldn't use bone in pork chops. I would use pork tenderloin cut into medallions. I just like it better for a pork dish, chops I find a little tough. My Roomies LOVED how this recipe turned out, they said it is what you would hope your meal tasted like when ordering from a restaurant.
I am so SO sad to say that the picture I took of the finished product turned out blurry! It didn't appear that way when I took it but that's iPhone photography for you!
Here are "stock" photos of the finished product that actually do look the way this dish turned out.

I hope you try this one out, you won't be sorry. Please ask any questions in the comments below.

Happy cooking!


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1 comment:

  1. !!! This looks DELISH. Ummm, can I come for dinner? Or can you come over and cook this? I will supply the wine and do the dishes (and I HATE doing dishes... ;)


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