No pumpkin spice here
Let me set the record straight right now. This is not an article about pumpkin spice anything. I personally enjoy the flavor of pumpkin, allspice, clove and cinnamon. But the flavors of autumn encompass so much more. How about fresh Honeycrisp apples or sage and thyme? Garlic and parsnips are always welcome additions to our home no matter the season.
One of my childhood memories about the fall is about the harvesting and preservation of meat for the winter. Both of my parents would share tales of communities coming together to harvest pork. Mom and Dad were raised in a time when modern refrigeration wasn’t accessible to everyone and meats had to be preserved by canning, salting or smoking. My grandfather always had a “smokehouse” but all I remember about it was a large saltbox where the hams and bacon was salted then the meat was hung to air cure.
I also remember my parents holding on to these traditions for several years by purchasing fresh pork from a farmer in the fall. We would then grind, season and smoke the meat for sausage. There is definitely an art to food preservation and I’m encouraged by a resurgence of these methods in recent years.
Pork and apple is always a great combination. Today’s recipe has these flavors as well as sage, garlic, and parsnips. The flavors in this dish warmed my spirit and would be suitable for a dinner party main course. I used my old cast iron skillet for this one as I wanted a nice brown sear on the pork.
The original recipe from Tasting Table (tastingtable.com) calls for two 12 ounce, bone-in pork chops which would eventually be carved and served off the bone. I chose to use four, thick cut, boneless chops - about 8 ounces and served them whole. I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Parsnip-Apple Puree
For the Puree
- 5 TBSP butter
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 LB (about 5 medium) parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 tsp thyme leaves (I used fresh but dried will also work)
- 1 tsp minced sage leaves (again I used fresh)
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the Chops
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1 Sage sprig plus about 12 leaves
- 4 – 8 oz boneless pork chops about 1 inch thick (or 2 – 12 oz bone-in chops 1 inch thick)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 5 TBSP unsalted butter
- 4 Thyme sprigs
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
Parsnip-apple puree: In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and caramelized, about 12 minutes. Add the parsnips, apples and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the orange zest, thyme and sage and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced slightly, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the mixture to a blender and puree until smooth. Scrape back into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Pork chop preparation: In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside. Add the 12 sage leaves to the pan and fry until crisp, 10 to 20 seconds, and then transfer to the plate.
Season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear the chops, flipping once, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side then transfer to the plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining sage and thyme sprigs, butter and garlic. Cook until the herbs are fragrant, 1 minute, and then return the chops to the pan. Cook, flipping once and basting constantly until an internal temperature of at least 140 F is reached about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving or carving into thick slices.
Divide the puree and pork between the plates. Garnish with the fried sage leaves and serve.
You can download the recipes of the week HERE!