Hello!

Today’s menu consists of something that I almost never cook with – pork! I have nothing against pork chops, tenderloin, etc. but growing up my mom never cooked it and I just never learned how, although it seems easy. I do love a few slices of bacon with my weekend breakfast. Actually, many people will be surprised to know that bacon is one of my favorite foods – give me bacon and hot dogs any day and I’ll be a happy girl!

I’m really excited that my friend Beej provided the recipes for today. Beej was my first friend who was into cooking and he was (and still is) an inspiration to me. He’s very creative and really puts heart (ok thought too, and good ingredients) into everything he cooks.

Enjoy!

Lauren Hillman

Bone-In Pork Chops with Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauce and Smashed Sweet Potatoes
Serves Two

Ingredients:

2 – Bone-In Pork Chops about 14oz each. Ask your butcher to “french” the bone. “Frenching” means to expose a piece of the bone and trim away any skin, meat and fat – basically for presentation.
3 – Sweet Potatoes or Yams
Barbecue Sauce (Use your favorite, I like the honey and cider from Williams-Sonoma)
1/4 cup Jack Daniels
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
Maple Syrup (DON’T use Pancake Syrup, make sure its actually real maple syrup from a tree)
2 tbs. butter, divided (meaning you don’t use them in the same step)
1/2 cup pecan pieces
Salt (I use large grain sea salt or Grey salt) and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Make sure to remove your pork chops from the refrigerator about an hour before cooking to allow for even cooking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and prick the sweet potatoes a few times so they don’t explode in the oven. Bake the sweet potatoes at 375 for about 40 minutes or until a knife comes out smoothly. Allow them to cool then slice in half and with a spoon scrape out the insides and reserve. Keep the oven on.

While the potatoes are baking, make your barbeque sauce. In a small saucepan add 1.5 cups of barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup Jack Daniels, 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1tbs butter and stir. Let mixture simmer for 5 minutes, and then remove from heat, but keep warm by covering it with a lid.

Preheat your grill pan to medium-high. Don’t worry! If you don’t have a grill pan you can use a skillet and your pork chops will turn out just fine. While the grill is preheating, rub extra virgin olive oil on both sides of the pork chops and season aggressively with salt and pepper. Grill (or sauté) each chop about 3-5 minutes per side while basting both sides with your barbecue sauce. Basting is just a fancy word for brushing the sauce on the meat (pork, in this case) while its cooking. It also flavors the meat and keeps it moist. Transfer the chops to oven for about 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 145 degrees or the chops still have a slight give to them. Remember not to overcook your pork or it will become tough and dry.

While the pork is cooking, in a small saucepan, melt 1 tbs. of butter. Add the sweet potato meat and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add the brown sugar, 1/4 cup maple syrup, pecans and a pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate.

To plate, spoon the remaining barbecue sauce into the center of the plate to form a 5″ circle. Add a heaping spoonful of sweet potatoes, and then place the pork chop on top at an angle.

Bon appetit!

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