Friday, April 1, 2011

New ideas and lessons learned: Pork chops with Sweet potato and Apple

Heylo Cast Iron Therapy readers! Sometimes you take a chance, see a good idea, and decide to go for it. Sometimes circumstances make those ideas seem pretty good. This was one of those nights. Having some extra pork chops thawed out in the refrigerator that mom demanded that I make use of, I found an interesting recipe in the KitchenAid Best-Loved Recipes: Pork chops with Sweet Potatoes and Apples. 

I've always liked sweet potatoes, and apples, and hadn't ever really thought to put the two together. The combination sounded good, and bacon always works well in a meat dish. The reality was slightly off from what I wanted. It was still a good recipe but I'd definitely tweak it quite a bit. I was rushed as well, so that may have played a factor. The sweet potato and apple combination was a bit too sweet, and lacking that savory quality. The small amount of salt I think relied on a better quality bacon than I had, resulting in a slightly blander chop than I'd like as well.

Here are some of the changes I'd make:

-Brine the pork chops, they were a little on the bland and dry side
-Reduce the number of sweet potatoes and/or replace half with regular potatoes
-Soak potatoes in water and let drain to remove some starch
-Cook the potato/onion/apple mixture in batches to make it easier to cook, and increase the browning
-Add more salt!
-I think some better quality or thicker bacon with more fat would have helped.

Full recipe adapted after the photos!

Mise en place: 

The shredded potatoes, onions and apple. This was a serious amount of work to do, especially with a not so great peeler. Chopping the apples probably would have been fine too.

Pork chops rubbed in lemon juice!


Pork chops didn't brown as nicely as I wanted to! Next time, more time, more heat!

All the veggies and some seasonings cook down in the pot! I have no idea how this would fit into a pan.

Artistically served the chop on a mound of the potatoes. Not bad, not bad. Still, I'd make some changes!

Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Adapted from KitchenAid Best-Loved Recipes:

4 slices of bacon
4 pork chops
Half of a lemon
2 medium sweet potatoes (original recipe calls for 3)
3 apples
1 small onion
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp chervil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. Peel and shred the sweet potatoes. Core the apples, then peel and shred them too.
2. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
3. Take your lemon half and rub it all over the pork chops, giving everything a good coat.
4. Cook bacon until crispy, and keep a good amount of fat in the pan, then chop bacon into bits. Keep the extra fat just in case actually.
5. Make sure the pan is still hot and brown the pork chops in the bacon fat, then set aside.
6. Pour the fat into a large pot, enameled cast iron would be the best! If it looks inadequate, add in the extra reserved fat, or some vegetable oil works.
7. Toss in onion, apples and sweet potatoes into the pot, add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and chervil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, but not too much to give the potatoes and good crisp.
8. If using an oven safe pot, toss the chops on top, if not put mixture into a greased oven safe pan and top with chops. Top chops with bacon and parsley. Cover with lid or foil, place in oven for 50 to 60 minutes.
9. Serve chops on a mound of potatoes, enjoy!

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