This summer my boyfriend and I made the big decision to move in together. After fourteen years in my condo uptown, I gave up my childhood neighbourhood and moved into his condo in downtown Toronto. While there was a small part of me that felt a little sad and nostalgic, I was excited to start this new chapter of my life with him and leave the past behind. Not in a regretful way, but tucking all the good and bad memories away in my mind for future reminiscing. While I have always worked downtown, I quickly felt at home in my new neighbourhood. I walked to work for the first time in my career, biked everywhere, hung out in the local park, and explored all the cute, artisan shops. I was particularly excited to have an organic butcher close by, and on one sunny weekend afternoon my boyfriend and I went for a walk to pick up some fresh cuts of meat – much more fun than grocery shopping at the big chain store! We admired all the cured meats hanging in the back – many were tagged with the names of restaurants we knew. We had a nice chat with the butcher and eventually decided on some capicola pork chops – the cut is pretty much the same as a regular pork chop but is closer to the capicola and is supposed to have more flavour.
When we returned home, I decided to pair the pork chops with some creamer potatoes, which we have recently discovered and are completed addicted to! Easy to make, soft & creamy with salty, crispy skins these potatoes are an easy addition to dinner or for a breakfast hash. I had some homemade canned pumpkin and freshly picked McIntosh apples which inspired me to do a spin on the apple sauce side that is often served with pork chops. I seasoned the pork chops with sweet and floral spices to compliment the puree. Overall this comforting dish balances the sweet and the salty, uses local, seasonal ingredients and is perfect for a weeknight dinner in the fall.
Pork Chops with Pumpkin Apple Puree, & Roasted Potatoes
- 2 pork chops bone in
- 1 yellow pepper core removed
- 2 Macintosh apples peeled and cored
- 6 x white and red creamer mini potatoes, cleaned and scrubbed
- 4 x garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- ½ cup fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup Alize liquour fruit cognac
- tablespoon of fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons raw honey
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a shallow pan, brine the chops in apple cider vinegar, Alize liquour, fennel, marjoram, ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon, insert garlic pieces into the fat.
Slice the potatoes in half and sprinkle with olive oil, sea salt, pepper and place on baking sheet, skin side up.
Slice yellow pepper in half and rub in olive oil inside and out. Place skin side up on baking sheet. Wrap apples separately in aluminum foil.
Turn over the pork chops in the brine.
Place potatoes, yellow pepper and apples in the middle of rack of oven and bake for 20 minutes, tossing potatoes after 10 minutes. Place cast iron skillet in oven to heat up.
Drain brine, drizzle pork chops with olive oil and sea salt.
Remove cast iron skillet from oven and place over medium heat. Sear the pork chops for 3 minutes. Turn over and place in oven for 6-7 minutes. Remove and let chops sit on a plate tented with foil.
Remove vegetables and apples from oven. Pierce apple with a fork and cook for another 5-10 minutes if apple is still firm.
Peel skin off pepper and thinly slice. Mix with potatoes and season with fresh rosemary and a bit more salt and pepper to taste.
In a medium mixing bowl, puree apples with a hand blender. Add pumpkin puree, honey, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
Serve pork chops with potatoes and a scoop of the pumpkin apple puree.