CSA Week 19: Braised Pork Chops with Acorn Squash and Apples

Cassius and Roxy are paid “in treats” for their modeling work.

There is one more week remaining in this year’s Sol to Seed Farm CSA subscription.  As usual, I am really happy about this week’s box because many items store well.  Farmer Matt says, “The yellow onions in this weeks box are a storage variety that will last for months. The winter squash, potatoes, and any root vegetables will also store and should make it past Thanksgiving… if stored properly.”  Since I cook at home every day, I don’t believe this food will be around to see Thanksgiving, but it’s nice to know that it’s possible. This weeks box includes:

  • 2-1/2 lbs of Potatoes
  • Red Cippolini + Copra Onions
  • Honey Boat Delicata Squash
  • Big fat orange and purple Carrots
  • Rutabaga- love it
  • Braising Mix- makes me healthy just looking at it
  • Heirloom Apples
  • Garlic- can never have too much garlic in my opinion
  • …and a free loaf of Multigrain Whole Wheat bread from Grand Central Baking Co.
Cooking savory meat dishes with apples is pretty common nowadays.  I was first inspired to cook with apples from the book Apple Harvest (Ten Speed Press) by Frank Browning and Sharon Silva in 2000.  It’s been updated since the 1999 version, but I highly recommend it if you love to cook with apples or want to find creative ways to eat them.  Since there are apples in this week’s box, I’ll have to thumb through the pages and try something new.Last night I made dinner for my lovely friend Jennifer who co-led the Slow Food Seattle chapter after I stepped down.  I had pork chops in my freezer from Skagit River Ranch and needed to use a purple onion and an acorn squash from a previous CSA share.
In my first year of grad school, I created this recipe for a class assignment in recipe development and testing.  My notes say that I did not make a special trip to the market for ingredients so I hope this recipe can be easily and affordably assembled where you live.  This recipe tastes like fall.  I suggest serving hearty dish with a cold mixed green salad and sliced baguette to sop up the caramelized pan drippings.  Unfortunately, I was so distracted by the Presidential debate last night that I forgot to take a photo.  I’m very sorry because the final dish was indeed very pretty.

Eiko and daughter Nicole of Skagit River Ranch

Braised Pork Chops with Acorn Squash and Apples
Serves 2-4
Pork mis-en-place
  • 2 large pork chops*, sprinkled with sea salt on both sides
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1-2 grinds of fresh pepper from a mill
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Mix together the flour, sage, salt and pepper in a shallow pan.  Dredge the seasoned pork chops and shake loose any excess flour and set aside. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking.  Add the chops to the hot pan, sear to golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes each side, and then set aside on a clean plate.  Prepare your vegetables.
Vegetable and fruit mis-en-place
  • 1 medium purple onion, peeled and cubed
  • 1 acorn squash, peeled, seeds removed by scooping with a spoon and cubed
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2-3 grinds of fresh pepper from a mill
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh apple cider (I use Skagit Fresh as it contains no added sugar)
Combine vegetables, apple, seasonings and oil in a large baggie and zip to lock the bag before shaking to coat the vegetables with the seasonings and oil.  In the same skillet, pour in the cubed vegetables and then quickly toss to coat with uncooked pork pan drippings.
Bring it all together
Nestle the partially cooked pork chops back into the pan, on top of the vegetables.  Pour a half cup of apple cider evenly to coat both chops and vegetables.  The skillet will be full but everything will cook down in the oven.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes.  Then remove the aluminum foil and continue to roast uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the liquid has cooked down and everything looks deliciously roasted and brown.  The pork will be fork tender.
*While I go out of my way (and I encourage you, too) to purchase only ethically raised pork from a local farm like Skagit River Ranch, this recipe can be made with chicken or leave out the meat entirely.  

I took this photo several years ago. These are some happy piglets from Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island. http://seabreezefarm.wordpress.com/ If you eat meat but don’t support farms that raise livestock in a humane and ethical way, then you are contributing to a system that exploits millions of animals for corporate profit.  Eat less meat and vote with your fork.

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9 thoughts on “CSA Week 19: Braised Pork Chops with Acorn Squash and Apples

  1. This sounds delicious, and the fat carrots and apples have me drooling. I’ve got a question-the “Braising Mix” you mention in your farm share haul–is that the bag of green leafys? I’ve never heard the term before. I’ve got a lot of green leafys this week-salad mix, lacinato kale, spinach, and turnips with greens attached, so I’ll be busy blanching and freezing some of it to have later this winter when the farm is tucked in for the winter. But first, peppers to pickle. Thanks!

    • Braising mix is pretty common around here in the spring and fall. It can be a combination of cut dark leafy greens like kale, collards, chards. My braising mix this week is just baby versions of several varieties of kale- from deep purple to dark green. Right now these brassicas are either too small to bunch or they may be rough around the edges. Packing the healthy leaves together with other leaves makes a colorful mix of greens that are perfect for braising. Have fun pickling peppers- I am really glad I made a quart of them for the fridge this year. I have learned pickled peppers make a perfect topping for flaked tuna sandwiches with chopped olives, lettuce and tomato.

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