Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pork Chops with Chunky Applesauce and Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

Do you ever have one of those days when you can hardly wait for the workday to be done so that you can go home and make a big, delicious dinner? No? Well there may be something wrong with me, but I often have days when I'm hard pressed to think of anything but food and cooking. Nothing releases more stress than coming home from work, pouring a big glass of wine (and breathing it in as I stare at my Italy calendar), and making a delicious dinner for my fiance and me. As we enjoy our meal I struggle to find other things to say besides "Isn't this good? I love how the flavor pops from this ingredient! Have you tasted it?" (Which often elicits the much-loved "All you talk about is food!" comment that I'm so used to!)

When I made these pork chops and potatoes I could talk about little else besides their deliciousness- proof that wow, they must have been good! The chunky applesauce brings the pork chops to life. As I cooked the apples my head was nearly in the pan inhaling the autumn aromas of roasting apples, nutmeg and cinnamon. It was the yummiest facial ever! And the potatoes, OH, the potatoes. They are the easiest side dish you'll ever make- just four ingredients- and they are incredible. Crunchy on the bottom, soft on the top, with explosions of flavor from the sea salt. And the rosemary fills the house with the earthy, woodsy smell of fresh herbs. My fiance later requested two of these little guys with every future meal. And you know what I told him? They're so easy even you can make them! We'll see if that happens... :)

Pork Chops with Chunky Applesauce
Sweet apples wrap boneless chops in delectable flavor. 
Serves 4

4 Golden Delicious apples, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 ounces golden raisins, a handful
1-inch piece fresh ginger root
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 cups apple juice or cider, plus a splash for pan sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
4 (1-inch) thick center cut boneless pork loin chops, 6 to 8 ounces each
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter

Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium pot placed over medium high heat and cook until a chunky sauce forms, 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce begins to spatter as it bubbles, reduce heat back a little, but it should be allowed to reduce and form quickly. Once apples are soft and sauce forms, remove it from the heat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to the pan. Season chops on 1 side with salt and pepper. Using a pair of tongs, add chops to hot skillet seasoned side down. Season the opposite side of the chops with salt and pepper. Brown and caramelize the chops 2 minutes on each side, then reduce heat to medium and cook another 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until juices run clear.

Remove chops from heat and let them rest a couple of minutes for juice to redistribute. Deglaze the pan with a splash of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of butter. Pour pan sauce over chops. Remove ginger from the sauce and top chops with generous portions of warm golden apple sauce.

Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Rosemary Smashed Potatoes
Four ingredients to gourmet! 
Serves 4 (2 potatoes each)

8 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Kosher or Sea Salt
Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah! Send me some please! Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing.