Pork Chops with Glazed Apples and Vegetables – Pan seared, thick cut pork chops oven roasted with apples, leeks, fennel, and butternut squash glazed in a herb brown sugar sauce.
This is my favorite time of year. The mornings and nights are cool, warranting an extra layer of clothing and the afternoons scorch, practically melting your face off. The leaves are in various hues between green, yellow, orange, and red, but not quite to brown though. And this is when all the best holidays occur. We have Halloween (love the whimsical witches), Thanksgiving (OMG the food), and the most important holiday of all, my birthday.
Yes, in my world, my birthday is a holiday. We should all get the day off and celebrate. For reasons probably best left to a therapist to deal with, my birthday was always one day I felt utterly special. More than likely it was due to the extra positive attention I received.
As I am writing this (Saturday, 10 PM), my birthday is in 6 days and this is the first year I am not excited. Usually, at this point in my countdown, I am willing the days and hours away to get to it. But not this year. This year I can’t hold the sands back in the hourglass. I know it is mental thing and next year I will be back to reminding everyone my birthday is coming, being excited, and such.
What makes this year different? This year I turn 40. I cannot get my mind around the number to save my life. I don’t remotely feel what I thought 40 was supposed to feel like. I still feel 27, and somedays, probably act 16. But this 40, what is this?
The thing is, I really don’t have too much to complain about.
I have a great life. I have an adorable daughter whom I love more than anything and most days, she loves me more than anything. I have a wonderful family, and even though I don’t see eye to eye with all of them, in the end, I know they love me. I have friends who offer such love and support. One friend particularly, who is like a sister, is going through a family crisis that no one should ever have to deal with, yet still finds time to encourage me and help me out. I have an amazing career that just two years ago I hadn’t even begun to envision and a fantastic network of other bloggers I greatly enjoy “working” with. I have my health. I have a roof over my head. And it’s obvious I have plenty of food. I have a DVR with an episode of Scandal waiting for me to watch. I downloaded a new book. I have a freshly detailed car, I mean seriously, what in the world do I have to complain about? Nothing. So why does 40 feel so….so….Blah?
To help get over this Blah feeling (please, someone, give me a word, not a sound, that describes how I am feeling), I did what I always do to ‘cheer’ myself up; I went into the kitchen to cook.
You regular readers are probably shocked to see this isn’t a post with some kind of red sauce, since that is my normal comfort food. But I love (or to use my friend Matt’s word-adore) pork. It’s true too, I do adore pork. This is what I came up with to comfort myself for the big 4-0. Pork and the quintessential autumn produce of butternut squash and apples, with some fennel and leeks in a glaze made of brown sugar, cinnamon, herbs, and butter! It doesn’t get much more fall on a plate than that. The restraint I had to exercise to get through the photography session was incredible. I did eat quite a bit of the veggies, but the pork just taunted me while I was behind the camera.
But when I finally got to cut it up, pour some of the juice from the pan over it and the veggies (and apples), man alive, I was transported to heaven. Succulent pork, sweet yet highly herbaceous apples and veggies, the words fail.
So while this dish didn’t cure me of my ‘turning 40 blues’, it did make me utterly excited to continue cooking more of these wonderful fall flavors. Oh and I totally cheated where the squash was concerned: I purchased a package of freshly chopped butternut to save me the work of dealing with it.
- 4 thick cut pork chops
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced
- 1 leek; cleaned, halved, and sliced
- 2 medium apples; cored and cubed
- 12 oz butternut squash; cubed
- 2 tbsp melted buter
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; divided 1:1
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar plus 1 tbsp
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (preferably Saigon/Vietnamese)
- 1/4 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp salt plus more for seasoning the pork
- 1/3 tsp black pepper plus more for seasoning the pork
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic plus more for seasoning the pork
- Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
- In a large (12") skillet or pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat.
- Sprinkle salt, pepper, and granulated garlic over both sides of the chops.
- Sear each side of the pork chops, giving them a deep brown color; remove from heat.
- Prepare the apples and vegetables, toss them together in a bowl, then arrange them under and around the pork.
- In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, 1 tbsp oil, brown sugar, herbs and spices.
- Spoon the mixture over the pork and veggies.
- Cover and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the cover and sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp brown sugar over the pan contents and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes, uncovered, or until the pork is cooked through to 160°.
- Plate and spoon the juice over both the meat and veggies; serve and enjoy.
This recipe also marks my first contribution to the Sunday Supper Movement, a collection of bloggers dedicated to bringing families back together, around the table for Sunday Dinner. As a kid, we ate dinner together at the table every night, and Sunday’s were always an extra special meal. Times are different. Families are busy, but this wonderful group seek to inspire people to gather together around the table once again. I am honored to be associated with this fantastic group of food bloggers and to be part of their mission to bring families closer together, one meal at a time.
Check out A Guide to Apples plus Best Fall Recipes Ideas for #SundaySupper and this week’s recipe collection:
- Apple-Currant Dutch Baby Pancake by The Weekend Gourmet
- Apple Swirled Pumpkin Yeast Bread by What Smells So Good?
- Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread by Party Food and Entertaining
- Giant Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart by Pies and Plots
- Sweet Potato Buttermilk Biscuits by Tara’s Multicultural Table
Appetizers and Sides
- Butternut Squash, Cauliflower and Cabbage Soup with Lentils by Monica’s Table
- Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins by Pancake Warriors
- Pumpkin Spice Roasted Sweet Potatoes by Love and Confections
- Roasted Veggie Tart by Books n’ Cooks
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Roasted Veggies & Couscous by Momma’s Meals
- Butternut Squash Lentil Curry Soup by Food Done Light
- Curry Beef Pies by Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Fantasy Rice by The Petit Gourmet
- King Prawns in Red Sauce – Mauritian Style Creole Sauce by Peachy Tales
- Pasta with Creamy Butternut & Bacon by Cooking Chat
- Pork Chops with Apple Dijon Sauce and Arugula Salad by Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Pork Chops with Glazed Apples and Vegetables by The Complete Savorist
- Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash by Feeding Big and More
- Roasted Tomato Soup with Bacon/Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich by A Gouda Life
- Salt Roasted Salmon over Roasted Butternut & Yam Soup by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken, Delicata Squash and Olives by Foodie Tots
- Sweet Potato French Bean Lentil Salad by Food Lust People Love
- Sweet Potato Alfredo Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup by Eating in Instead
- Whole Roasted Chicken with Vegetables by Life Tastes Good
Desserts and Cocktails
- Apfelkuchen by Curious Cuisiniere
- Applesauce Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Swirls by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Apple Gingersnap Refrigerator Dessert by Recipes Food and Cooking
- Autumn Bellini by An Appealing Plan
- Autumn Spice Cookies by Desserts Required
- Caramel Apple Napoleons by The Crumby Cupcake
- Caramel Apple Pie Bundles by The Freshman Cook
- Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins by The Redhead Baker
- Caramel Apple Swirl Cheesecake No-Churn Ice Cream by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Cheesecake Swirl Pumpkin Muffins by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Chestnut and Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream by Caroline’s Cooking
- Dark Chocolate-Espresso Pumpkin Tiramisu by Brunch with Joy
- Dutch Apple Pie by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Drizzle by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding with Salted Caramel Sauce by Grumpy’s Honeybunch
- Pumpkin Crisp by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting by Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
- Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake by Flour On My Face
- Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter Cookies by Palatable Pastime
- Roasted Maple Pears by Amee’s Savory Dish
- Spiced Pear Cake by Simply Healthy Family
- Spiced Pumpkin Bread by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Sweet Apple Skillet Cake by Nosh My Way
Plus, A Guide to Apples plus Best Fall Recipes Ideas for #SundaySupper
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.