Leaves a-changing? Pumpkins a-glowing? A chill in the air? Check, check, check. Before our feasting tables are overtaken by Halloween candy and Thanksgiving trimmings, let’s celebrate this quiet mid-autumn period. Below you’ll find recipes for a hearty meal bursting with seasonal produce and fall-time flavors, a perfect for the menu this weekend…
Apples soaked in rum, and pork chops with a white wine pan sauce? This recipe truly qualifies as “drunken”, making it THAT much more fun to cook. Pictured above, I have adapted the recipe from the link to include a brine for the pork chops. Brining pork chops prior to cooking will make the meat incredibly tender and juicy, so don’t skip it!
serves 4; active cooking time 25 minutes, total cooking time 1 hour and 35 minutes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 4 double-cut pork chops, 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch thick, about 8 ounces each
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium store-bought or homemade chicken broth
- Make a brine of 3 tablespoons of kosher salt and a few whole black peppercorns in 3 cups of warm water, stirring to dissolve. Let the raw chops sit in this solution in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towel and season both sides with seasoning mixture.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until lightly smoking. Add pork to pan and cook without moving until well browned on first side, about 4 minutes. Flip and transfer skillet to oven. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest.
- While pork cooks, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add apples, a pinch of salt salt, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum, and 1/4 cup of water to pan, stirring to combine.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until apples are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch lemon juice and add to simmering apple mixture. Simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes longer. Set aside and keep warm.
- When pork is cooked, return skillet to a burner set over high heat. Add wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add chicken broth and cook, simmering until sauce is reduced by half, about 7 minutes.
- Off heat, swirl in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Serve pork with sauce and apples.
This stuffed squash recipe takes a bit of time, but the instructions are straightforward and simple. Spoon out the insides of the acorn squashes and keep those seeds; they’re perfect for roasting in the same way you would pumpkin seeds.
serves 4; active cooking time 1 hour, total cooking time 2 hours
- 4 small acorn squash
- 2 cups cooked wild rice blend
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove seeds from acorn squash: using a sharp chef’s knife, trim away a small flat slice from the bottom of each squash so it sits flat. Then, cut off the top 1/2″ of each squash, exposing the seeds. Use a tablespoon to scrape out seeds and fibers.
- Place squash on a baking sheet, season lightly with salt and pepper, and drizzle each squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove from oven.
- In the meantime, prepare the stuffing: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion sweats but does not brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add cooked wild rice and cooked white rice to the skillet and stir to combine. Add chopped pecans, dried cranberries and ricotta salata and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stuff each acorn squash with about 1/4 of stuffing mixture, packing stuffing into squash cavity and mounding it slightly. Drizzle each squash with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil and bake until squash is tender and stuffing browns slightly, about 40 minutes.
We musn’t forget dessert … pumpkin scones are an excellent way to cap off the meal. You can find my recipe from earlier this week at the link above! Maybe your meal will be a bit too late in the day for coffee, but scones go awfully well with an after-dinner white Russian, too.
I hope you have the chance to make this delicious feast and celebrate the bounty of autumn prior to the holiday rush. If you have a favorite fall dish, I would love to hear about it in the comments!