It’s officially fall, and that’s something to get excited about. In Savannah, Georgia, the average temperature this time of year is around 85 degrees, which may sound warm to most, but we welcome anything below the high 90’s! When it comes to food, there are so many ingredients I love to cook with in the autumn months. Continue reading “Savory Side Dish: Cinnamon Apples & Onions”
It’s officially holiday season. Let the menu and party planning begin! I’ve put together a holiday inspired meal including a classic combination of flavors, along with some of my family’s traditional recipes that are impressive on the table but simple to execute. These dishes are special enough for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, but delicious year ’round. Here’s what’s cookin’: Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Sautéed Cinnamon Apples, Mama’s Sweet Potato Casserole, Farm-Raised Green Beans and Grandma’s Made-from-Scratch Buttermilk Biscuits. We couldn’t celebrate the holidays without incorporating pumpkin, so for dessert, the Pumpkin Spice Trifle will make its debut appearance.
The star of this show is the Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin. This time of year, I think folks get ham and turkey’d out. So, now is a great time to allow pork to step into the limelight. To accomplish that gorgeous golden brown exterior and moist meat, I use a combination of dried and fresh herbs and Georgia olive oil. Season the meat liberally with kosher salt and black pepper. Drizzle it with olive oil, then massage in a healthy amount of fresh basil, fresh rosemary and about a two teaspoons of dried oregano. Here’s a tip: Cook the tenderloin in a 9 x 13 dish, and just before putting it in the oven, add about an inch of water to the pan. Roast the meat at 425 degrees for 25 minutes per pound. Another reason this tenderloin tastes amazing, is because it’s pasture-raised. This little piggie wasn’t given any antibiotics or steroids, and was free to roam and eat Georgia grass. The result is a much more nutritious animal that’s healthier to eat and healthier for our environment. Thanks to my friends at Hunter Cattle Company for raising it.
Nothing compliments pork like a side of delicious cinnamon apples sautéed in butter. This is as simple as it gets. Slice 5 to 6 medium apples about a 1/4 inch thick and saute in four tablespoons of unsalted butter. Allow them to cook down, then season with cinnamon and keep them warm. You don’t even have to peel them!
Green beans may be a popular side item, but served this way you can’t go wrong. My Farm-raised Green Beans also feature Hunter Cattle’s smoked bacon and sweet Vidalia onions and homegrown tomatoes from the Statesboro Mainstreet Farmers’ Market. Cook the bacon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Saute diced onion and tomato in the remaining bacon fat, season with salt & pepper and add to cooked green beans with a pat or two of butter. Top with crumbled bacon. On the left above, Mama’s Sweet Potato Casserole is a regular at every family function. It adds a wonderful pop of color to the plate. The topping, made of chopped pecans, brown sugar, flour and butter–is like candy.
After a mouth-watering meal, a 14-layer cake or heavy pie is overwhelming. My Pumpkin Spice Trifle hits the spot. Complimented by soft spice cake and crunchy gingersnap cookies, it’s like a pillow-y cloud of light fresh whipped cream and vanilla pudding bursting with fall flavors. Plus, it makes a stunning presentation.
For the complete recipes to these dishes and to watch me cook them in action, tune in to my next episode of Statesboro Cooks, premiering in mid-November on local cable Channel 99. Be sure to watch the show to discover my secret to the best buttermilk biscuits you ever tasted! For those outside of the area, I’ll be sure to post the episode right here on Some Kinda Good, so you can watch too. Wishing you and your family a very happy holiday season. Eat well!
At the start of each new season, there are a few dishes I anticipate cooking greatly. My Apple-Pecan Honey Stuffed Pork Chops in White Wine are at the top of the list in the fall. Apples, onions, pecans and nutmeg exemplify autumn in this comforting, home-cooked meal. It starts on the stove top and finishes in the oven. Special enough for company and simple enough for a weeknight, these tender, juicy pork chops put chicken and beef to shame. It ought to be a crime to eat this good!
Let’s get cookin’! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 3-4 thick cut pork chops
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg seasonings
- 1-2 Tbs honey
- 1 medium granny smith apple
- 1 small Vidalia onion
- 1/2 cup pecans
- Unsalted butter
- White wine of your choice, I used Pinot Grigio
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Start by dicing a granny smith apple, an onion and your pecans. Be sure to dice them up small, keeping them the same size for even cooking. A smaller dice will also make your pork chops easier to stuff.
Melt a tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the diced apples, onions and pecans, season with salt and pepper and dot with butter. Cook for a few minutes, then drizzle in some honey for a touch of sweetness.
You’ll need a small, sharp pairing knife to make the incision. Cut them right down the middle, keeping the back and sides of the pork chop intact but making a large enough incision to create a good size pocket. Don’t be scared. Own it!
By this time, your stuffing will be ready. With a large serving spoon, fill each pork chop to the brim. Pack the stuffing in there, getting down in the crevices. Don’t overfill them, but make sure each one is plump. If you put too much stuffing in the pork chops, it’ll just fall out during cooking. You want them to hold as much as possible. Just remember, deep pockets do the trick. You can use toothpicks to secure them, but I find they just get in the way.
In the same pan (easier clean up and building flavors – winning), melt another tablespoon or two of unsalted butter. Gently lay your stuffed pork chops in the pan and brown on each side for 3-4 minutes until the outsides are golden brown and caramelized. When you flip them, handle with care. You will lose a little stuffing, but don’t fret. Before transferring to the oven, hit the pan with a good splash of white wine and inhale. 😉
Finish cooking the pork chops in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. I find it much easier to finish a thick cut of meat in the oven than on the stove top. The meat cooks evenly and you don’t have to worry about one side getting darker than the other or constant flipping. Plus, you’re not standing over the stove and you can take a moment to sip some wine or devote your attention to side dishes.
They taste phenomenal–warm flavors of nutmeg and pork compliment tart apples in every sweet and savory bite. Don’t forget to drizzle the chops with the pan juices. Having one of these on your plate is like having your own little gift. You’re also getting fruit, protein and vegetables all in one little package. What’s not to love?
Feel free to change-up the stuffing. Rosemary is awesome with pork. Don’t like pecans? Use walnuts. Even if pork is not in your diet, chicken is always an alternative. The idea is to have fun and experiment with flavors. Enjoy!
What are your favorite fall meals?
Skillet Barbecued Pork Chops Good Enough for Company