Thursday, October 1, 2009

Your inner Homer Simpson will drool..."mmm, pork chops"

Now that I am eating meat again, I am discovering recipes in some of my favourite cookbooks that I previously ignored. While doing some menu planning I pulled 12 Best Foods by Dana Jacobi off the shelf. This book was a great resource when I was vegetarian, but this time a recipe for 'Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Gravy' immediately caught my eye.

Everything about this dish was amazing, particularly the sweet potato "gravy." Yes, the potatoes contained butter and cream, but it's a relatively small amount, and it's the only added fat in the recipe. Besides, the sweet potatoes provide a huge amount of health benefits (hence this recipe's inclusion in 12 Best Foods) which I would say makes up for a little bit of indulgence - especially since my notoriously veggie-phobe boyfriend loved it!

Pork Chops with Sweet Potato Gravy - adapted from 12 Best Foods Cookbook by Dana Jacobi

2 boneless center-cut pork chops
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp half and half
1/2 apple, peeled and grated (I used a Granny Smith, the recipe calls for Golden Delicious)
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 small onion, finely chopped (I used a bit of onion powder instead - see above re: veggie-phobe boyfriend)
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Roast the sweet potatoes (the recipe calls for you to roast the sweet potatoes whole and unpeeled, then peel and mash them. Ever try to peel a cooked potato? Not fun. Next time I would peel the potatoes, cut them into chunks, coat with a tiny bit of oil and then roast them). Reduce oven temperature to 35o F.
Remove 1/2 cup of mashed sweet potatoes. Combine the remaining potatoes with the butter and half and half. Spread the creamy potatoes over the bottom of a greased square baking dish.
For the stuffing, combine the 1/2 cup sweet potato with the apple, onion, breadcrumbs and pepper.
Make a large slit in the side of each pork chop. Pack the stuffing generously into the pockets. Combine the paprika, salt and onion powder in a small dish. Sprinkle each side of the pork chops with the spice mixture. Place on top of the sweet potatoes and cover the dish with foil. Bake covered for 35 minutes, then uncovered for 10 minutes.

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