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Monday, March 5, 2018

Maple Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

This meal feels seasonal to me; it's substantial and comforting food for those places that are still having some winter weather. 


Maple Pork Chops and Sweet Potatoes with Bacon

Source:  Simple Weeknight Favorites from America's Test Kitchen
Serves 4

1 1/4 pds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
6 slices bacon, chopped
4 (8 oz) bone-in pork rib chops, 1 inch thick, trimmed
salt and pepper
2 teas fresh thyme or 1 teas dried
1/2 c maple syrup
1 T cider vinegar
2 teas Dijon mustard

Place the sweet potatoes a large microwave safe bowl, cover, and cook in the microwave until tender but not falling apart; they'll have some additional cooking time. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium to medium-high heat cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl--you'll use some in the following steps.

To keep the chops from buckling, make shallow slices through the fat on the edges of the pork chops; 2-3 cuts should probably be sufficient. Pat them dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Replace about 1 tablespoon bacon fat into the skillet and heat over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the chops and allow to cook until browned about 4 minutes each side. According to the USDA the chops should reach an internal temperature of 145F. Remove the chops from the skillet and place on a plate; tent foil loosely over them while you proceed.

Add another tablespoon bacon fat and the sweet potatoes to the skillet; cook and stir occasionally until they are browned. Stir in thyme and reserved bacon and sprinkle with salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. Place in a bowl for serving. Cover to retain the heat.

Reduce the heat to medium. In the empty skillet, add maple syrup, vinegar, and mustard and cook until thickened. Add the chops back to the skillet and pour in accumulated juices. Let the chops simmer while you turn them. When coated by the glaze serve the chops with the sweet potatoes.