Thursday, November 3, 2011

Balsamic Apple Glazed Pork Chops and Savory Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes

Fall is here, and with fall comes anything orange and apples. And soups.  Stay tuned for more soups.  Claire and I had been off for a couple of weeks, so we were so glad to get back together for some major kitchen trashing. This session, we actually made several meals, but they'll be posted separately for ease.  Many of our earlier recipes are bunched together by cooking session, which was fun but harder to reference. Hope you like the shortened, but hopefully slightly more frequent posts.

Balsamic Apple Glazed Pork Chops
We changed this recipe a little so that there was no sugar added.  Another version calls for cherry jam- stay tuned.  It turned out wonderfully, and was well-received by our families.  I served them with the Savory Twice-baked Sweet Potatoes, below, and a side of broccoli. The broccoli was stir-fried with olive oil and a clove of chopped garlic. You could steam it, but the garlic is so good and rounds out the sweetness on the plate.

6-8 pork chops
1/2 onion, diced
1 large apple, finely diced
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1/3 c honey
1 T soy sauce
1 T grainy mustard
3/4 c water
1-2 T cornstarch

Pan sear pork chops on both sides and let rest in a 9x13 oven-safe baking pan.  Saute onion and apple in the pan used for the pork chops, then add balsamic vinegar, honey, and soy sauce.  Let cook about 2 minutes.  Add mustard.  In a separate bowl or cup, mix water and cornstarch together (so that you won't get lumps), and pour into the saucepan.  Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer for another couple of minutes.  Pour over pork chops. Bake and 350 degree preheated oven for about 20 minutes, depending on thickness of pork, until the internal temperature reaches 150-160 degrees. 

Savory Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
This is an original recipe from Claire. After making this, we came up with several additional variations, including one with caramelized onions and smoked bacon bits, but this is the original version.  Don't leave out the parmesan cheese, as it adds a depth of flavor to the sweet potatoes.

3-4 sweet potatoes
1/3 c nonfat Greek yogurt for every 2 potatoes
1 scallion, chopped
2 T parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1-2 slices of prosciutto, bacon, or turkey bacon, crisped and chopped

Bake sweet potatoes unwrapped for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Split lengthwise down the middle and scoop out the insides. Reserve the skins. Mix shelled out sweet potatoes with Greek yogurt, scallions, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste- but don't forget you're adding salt with the bacon/prosciutto.  Spoon mixture back into skins and sprinkle bacon/prosciutto on top. Put back in oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, uncovered.

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