It doesn’t take much for someone to convince me to cook. “How about you make me something using your culinary expertise?” , said a co-worker as soon as I walked in the building was all she had to say. Forget about the tired and proverbial “good morning!”, let’s make you cook today. But as you may have probably already guessed, I happily obliged and yes, apparently, verbal embellishments work wonders. Not that there’s anything “culinary” or “expert” about my cooking.
By the time I punched out for my lunch break, I had already come up with a menu. So I came to her and asked, “how do you feel about squash?” to which she replied with wide-eyed excitement, “oh I love squash!” and then enumerated the types of squash she loves. Then I asked how she feels about apples and she said yes (well, yeah!). And then, I asked, “But how do you feel about squash and apple being in the same dish?” She said, it’s something she is willing and so excited to try.
So I headed straight to Wegmans after work and shopped for the ingredients. Then I went to Dollar General to buy my very first props to “stage” my food. You can’t go wrong with a $1.00 plate and table napkin. Oh, I also bought some flowers from Wegs, but I butchered it because I am not a very good florist. Ugh!
Anyway, here’s the recipe. I have only cooked it once about 2 or 3 years ago. I know the apple and squash kinda worked but I messed up the pork. It was cooked but didn’t have that deep, rich color or seared meat to it because I was afraid of burning it and leaving the inside still raw. So stupid me, I cooked the beautiful meat over medium heat and, disaster! Well, lesson learned and now I am becoming more comfortable searing my meats. Although I still haven’t gotten over popping oil so I still wear long sleeves whenever I fry or sautee or anything that involves hot cooking oil in a pan.
- 4-6 pieces bone-in pork chops
- 1 medium sized acorn squash- peeled and sliced
- 2 granny smith apples- cored and sliced
- olive oil
- Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
- Peel and slice squash. Cut in half and cut into 1/4 inch slices across (like a rainbow), then cut slices in half.
- Core and slice apples into thin lengthwise cuts. I made the mistake of peeling the apples. Leave the peel to keep the apple from breaking.
- In a huge bowl, season with chopped rosemary, garlic and salt then toss olive oil until well coated. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 15 minutes (really, it’s all it takes). After 15 minutes, throw in apple slices and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, season pork chops with salt and pepper and sear over high heat. place a sprig of rosemary on top of the meat after turning and throw in a clove of garlic and a teaspoon of butter over the meat to melt. Once all the pork chops are seared, place on top of the squash and apples and leave in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Take tray out of the oven and serve the pork chop, squash and apples with your favorite greens.
I love the mix of texture and flavor in my mouth. The tartness from the granny Smith apple was perfect to gut the rich, greasy flavor from the pork chop but the squash cushions that punch of flavor from the apple so it melds well in your mouth. The velvety, earthy, nutty flavor from the squash is what blends all the flavors together and resonates in your palate. Rosemary? That’s my go-to herb. It gave this dish a very fine aroma that heightens your senses and excitement for the food.
I was in a little bit of a funk when I started cooking. I guess it was extreme rise in temperature or my 4-yo being a 4-yo today. Then, add to that the pale yellow from the acorn squash. This is why I don’t like using ingredients I’m not used to. I get disappointed and I just lose all interest in cooking. Good thing this acorn squash delivered. It was really tasty.