It’s taken a while for the weather to change this year. We have yet to feel the crisp air associated with autumn, and my kids are still wearing shorts to school. Sure, we’ve been teased a little bit with a few cool morning in October. We actually had a day that started below freezing. However, by the time ten o’clock that morning rolled around, I was ready to turn my air-conditioner back on.
Despite the weather not cooperating with the season, I still want to cook food featuring the ingredients found at their peak this time of year. Apples and sweet potatoes are my favorite fall ingredients, and I use them as much as I can before my family gets tired of seeing apples and sweet potatoes in the dinner rotation.
Sweet potato hash is my number one seasonal side dish. Not only does it taste good, but it’s good for you. Lots of flavor and vitamins in the dish. And what’s sweet potato hash without pork? I usually prepare a pork roast with the hash, but the market had some really good looking pork loin chops on special, so I went with them instead, making this dish perfect for a weeknight meal.
Hopefully, the weather begins to cooperate and fall will be in the air soon. Until then, I’ll just enjoy the mild temperatures, because it won’t be long before I’m complaining about it being too cold outside.
Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post!
Roasted Pork Chop with Hard Cider Pan Sauce and Sweet Potato Hash
Makes 6 servings
8 tablespoons kosher salt
8 cups warm water
6 cups apple juice, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
6 (1½-inch thick) boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 potatoes), peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarse ground pepper
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cubed
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 Fuji apples, cored and cut into ½-inch dice
4 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots (1 shallot)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup hard cider
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon finely chopped Italian parsley
Coarse-ground black pepper
Place the salt and warm water in a large bowl. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Mix in the apple juice and peppercorns. Add the pork chops to the brine, pour in additional apple juice to cover the chops. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper to large bowl. Toss to coat and arrange the potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven and set aside.
Remove the pork chops from brine, rinse, and dry with paper towels. Season the chops with salt and pepper.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Cook the pork chops, in batches, until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pork. Place the baking pan in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the pork chops to a platter. Cover the meat loosely with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Drain the fat from skillet.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth and hard cider; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and gently simmer until slightly reduced, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the cider vinegar and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley.
Meanwhile, make the hash. Heat the bacon in another large skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon is crispy and brown, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the onion to the skillet and season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the apples and the white parts of the green onions and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the sweet potatoes and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer the hash to a platter and garnish with the green parts of the green onions. Top with the pork chops and serve with the Hard Cider Gravy.