Thursday, February 18, 2021

Autumn in February - Pork Chops, Brussels Sprouts and Apples

Sheet pan suppers have been a thing for a while now. Let's make one.

First, a caution. Don't mistake the one-pan bake for an indicator of one-dish meal preparation. For some recipes, all the ingredients can conveniently be seasoned, oiled, and tossed together directly on the baking sheet. Many other recipes have you mixing ingredients in separate bowls with seasonings and sauces before they ever hit the baking sheet. And, if your meat and veggies get too crowded, you know what you have to do. Use a second baking sheet. Still, sheet pan suppers have allure, and here's the one I recently made.

Sheet Pan Roasted Pork Chops, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples

There are zillions (I counted) of similar recipes out there. Here's the one I used as my starting point. 

  • 2 Tbsps vegetable or olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup whole grain mustard
  • bone-in pork chops (I made 3)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 1 tsp dried sage)
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts
  • 2 sweet apples
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 375°F. If you want slightly easier clean-up, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, but it's not required. No need to oil the pan or use cooking spray, because your dinner ingredients will all be tossed with oil.

In a large shallow dish, combine 1 tablespoon oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and mustard. Mix well. Season the pork chops with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and sage. Add the pork chops to the mustard mixture, dipping and flipping to coat them well on both sides. Set aside to marinate while you deal with the other ingredients.

Trim the ends off the brussels sprouts and cut the sprouts in half. Combine these in a large bowl with the balsamic vinegar and remaining oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well to combine.* Scatter the brussels sprouts on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. (See my realization below -- you may wish to mix the apples in with the brussels sprouts at this time, depending on your tastes.) 

Meanwhile, core and chop the apples. Toss them around in the same bowl the brussels sprouts had been in, just to scrape up the remains of the oil, salt, and pepper. When the first 10 minutes are up, add the apples to the baking sheet and mix into the partially cooked brussels sprouts. Push them all to the edges so you can place the pork chops at the center of the pan.

*I got as far as putting everything on the pan before I realized I like my brussels sprouts closer to well done. Nice and tender, with crunchy brown outer edges. Dozens of previous sprout-roasting experiences told me just 20 or so minutes at 375 wouldn't do it. 

So, I removed the chops and apples and gave the brussels sprouts a 10-minute head start in the oven. Then, I dumped the chopped apple onto the sheet pan, mixed it with the sprouts and scooted it all toward the edges of the pan to make room in the center for the pork chops. OK. Back to the instructions.

Roast everything in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until pork is cooked through. 

If you need a little something extra with this meal, 10 minutes before time's up, throw a bag of ready-to-bake garlic knots in the oven. 



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