Maple Pork Chops with Sweet Potato-Bacon Hash
Oct 22, 2014 04:00PM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Forget the Snickers bar, this dish is the ultimate sweet and salty indulgence. It’s as good as, if not better than candy—and there’s bacon! In case you were worried, this meal still meets many of the clean eating qualifications. For starters, it’s home cooked. There’s an abundance of maple syrup, but no refined sugars. In fact, maple syrup, while still high in sugar content, actually contains some minerals and antioxidants. You’ll notice on the ingredient’s list that I chose amber maple syrup. The darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor. I find that amber syrup adds the right amount of maple flavor without being overpowering. Despite being a bit heavy-handed in the carnivore department, there is minimal processing afoot (if sourced correctly). Last, but not least, the thyme is a healthy way to add flavor.
Now that I’ve given you all the justifications you need—did I mention there’s bacon—let’s get down to the preparation of this sinfully good comfort food meal. Besides the amazing flavor profile what’s great about this recipe is that, like the apt name of the magazine I pulled it from, it really is so simple. It’s a one-skillet job, should only take 30-45 minutes tops, and utilizes the microwave. While I try to avoid the microwave as much as possible, using it to cook the sweet potatoes to the point of softening really saves a lot of time, and we all know there’s never enough of that. Use microwave-safe ceramic or glass cookware, as well as an overturned plate rather than plastic wrap in order to avoid exposure to chemicals.
One slightly tricky thing to remember is to reserve some of the bacon fat after cooking, instead of immediately discarding all excess grease. Lastly, the most time-consuming requirement is picking the thyme. The last time I made this dish, I asked my loving and helpful boyfriend to take care of that annoying task for me. By the end of it he was so aggravated (I like a lot of fresh herbs in my meals) he told me to avoid cooking meals that called for it. In his defense, he would most likely do it again if I asked. Luckily, I have recently acquired just the gadget to alleviate such a terribly tedious task. Read more about it in the kitchen tip segment.
Ingredients – Serves 4
- 1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
- 6 slices bacon
- 4 bone-in pork rib chops, about 1 inch thick
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
- ½ cup amber maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe container, cover, and microwave until tender, 4-7 minutes. Err on the side of undercooked, as they are going to need time to brown in a skillet. Meanwhile, slow-cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, flipping every few minutes, until cooked to desired amount. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off fat, reserving 2 tablespoons. Chop bacon into small pieces when cool.
2. Pat chops dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon reserved fat in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chops and cook until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon reserved fat and potatoes to now-empty skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, 5-7 minutes. Stir in thyme and bacon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving bowl.
4. Add maple syrup, vinegar, and mustard to now-empty skillet and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add chops and any accumulated juices and simmer, turning often, until glaze coats chops, about 2 minutes. Serve with potatoes.
Adapted from: “Maple Pork Chops with Sweet Potato-Bacon Hash.” America’s Test Kitchen: The Best Simple Recipes. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2013. Print.
By Rhea Torreon