I did my meal planning a little backwards this week. The Mister went food shopping, and I chose meals based on what he bought. We usually get the same kinds and cuts of meat, so seeing pork chops in the freezer was not a surprise.
I've also taken on a rather large and intimidating project of organizing my saved recipes. Some are saved in digital form (re-typed into Word documents, saved as PDFs), and some are hard-copy pages, torn from magazines. I'm staring with the digital recipes, looking for them online, and saving a link to the recipe in a Google document spreadsheet.
The recipe below is an adaptation of a brined pork chop recipe from the August 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. We really enjoyed it. I often end up drying pork chops out when I cook them in the oven, but that didn't happen this time. The brine imparted extra flavor to the chops. And I love the pairing of butternut squash with pork. Yes, it's typically a fall-weather pairing, but this dish is light enough for spring.
For even more flavor, add fresh rosemary, garlic, or blackberries to the balsamic vinegar as it is reducing.
- 4 boneless pork chops
- 1 ½ cups water
- 3 tbsp coarse kosher salt
- 1 ½ tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 20 oz frozen diced butternut squash, thawed (if using fresh, peel, seed and dice to ½-inch cubes)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Mix water, coarse salt, and sugar in 9x13-inch baking dish; stir until salt and sugar dissolve. Add pork chops; let brine 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with tinfoil, spray with nonstick spray.
- Remove pork chops from brine, pat dry and place on one sheet pan. Brush with olive oil and season with pepper to taste.
- Combine melted butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. Spread butternut squash in a single layer in second sheet pan. Pour butter mixture over squash, and toss to coat.
- Place both sheet pans in the oven and cook until pork reaches 145 degrees and squash are fork-tender (about 15 minutes).
- While pork is cooking, place balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan. Boil until reduced to ¼ cup (about 5 minutes). Whisk in butter, season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to serving plate and drizzle glaze over pork chops.