The marinade for this is super-simple.Mix 1/2 cup apple juice (I accidentally bought “punch blend” instead of plain old apple juice. It worked great.) with 1/4 cup maple syrup in a zip-top bag. You’ll need to squeeze a bit to get the syrup to mix with the juice. Put 4 pork chops in the bag, and refrigerate for at least two hours.While you are waiting, peel and slice a sweet potato, slice an onion, and core and slice 2 Bosc pears and 1 Golden Delicious apple. Set these aside. (I put them in a big bowl with a cover to keep the apple and pears from getting too brown.)
Once the chops are good and marinaded, mix together the magic spices. Mix 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Take the chops out of the marinade, and give both sides a good sprinkle with the spices, and rub them in good.Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup in a large, oven-safe skillet.
Add the sweet potato, onion, pears, and apple to the skillet. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. (I might have used more cinnamon than that.)
Once again, I found myself wishing for a bigger skillet. And hoping that this would cook down to a more manageable size.The instructions say to saute for 35 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft and the mixture is caramelized. I don’t remember much about cooking class, but I was pretty sure that “saute” didn’t include “overfill the skillet and heat for a while.” And I thought that things might not heat too evenly with the skillet so full. So I put a cover on for about 10 minutes. Don’t do that. The sweet potatoes got soft very quickly and started to fall apart. So did the apples. Surprisingly, the pears kept their texture very nicely.
So. “Saute” – uncovered – over medium heat for about 35 minutes, until all the fruits and veggies are soft, and it smells positively delicious.
Add the pork chops to the skillet, and cover (as best as you can) with the fruit/veggie mixture. NOW put on a cover (do not do this earlier, please, I beg of you!) and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.
Here’s mine after the oven:Everything was great! The sweet potato fell apart – next time I will slice them thicker, and not cover the skillet during the first part of cooing. The apple kind of fell apart, too, so a little thicker slices for that, I think.
And did you know? The USDA lowered the internal cooking temperature for pork to 145 degrees (with a 3 minute rest after it comes off the heat)? I didn’t check mine until after 35 minutes was up on the timer, and the internal temp was way higher than that, and the chops were just a teensy bit dry. I would recommend checking the temperature of your chops after about 20 minutes in the oven, and monitor them after that.
This will definitely be on our table again this fall!
But I do not think I will be firing the oven back up to 400 degrees until after this heat wave breaks!!