“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot
It’s no secret that for me, it isn’t the right time of year until the leaves beneath my shoes crunch and I’ve made the transition from iced to hot coffee. There is something peaceful for me when I look around and see the vibrant colors of changing leaves and the scent of changing air perfumes every breath. Give me hoodie weather, and I’m the nicest person you’ll ever meet.
There are times I’m glad no one besides my fiance and my daughter are around to see how these food ideas come to fruition. What started as a great idea to brine a pork chop in apple cider, quickly spiraled out of control with making this Autumn on a plate. I wanted to take the very best things about the season and make them friends at the table. For me, it’s all about pumpkin – put that word in front of anything and I’m liable to try just about anything. My mother and Alora don’t consider it fall until Honeycrisp Apples have hit the scene.
I don’t know anyone with a grudge against this time of year, but I bet your ass that if you know one, this dish will turn them around.
Together it seems like a lot to make for one meal but you can space it out. I did it all on a lazy Sunday where I had nothing more to do than watch Netflix.
Honeycrisp Apple and Thyme Compote
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Heavy pinch of salt and pepper
Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filling)
- 2 Tablespoons of water
- 1/16 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan Reggiano cheese
- salt and black pepper
In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Dump in the cream, pumpkin and water, whisking to combine. Stir in the nutmeg. Add the cheese a little at a time, whisking between additions. This helps things from getting gritty.
Taste and determine how much salt and pepper you need. Adjust as needed.
Apple Cider Brined Pork Chops
- 2 Cups apple cider
- 2 Cups water
- 2 Tablespoons salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig of fresh oregano
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 1/2 lbs. boneless pork chops (Note: This was four chops for us. They were friggin’ huge! If yours are smaller, I’d cut the brine time as deemed necessary.)
In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the pork chops. Heat over medium heat until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Turn off the heat and allow to cool completely. I recommend doing this in the refrigerator so it’s really cold.
Never ever put meat in a hot brine. It will start to cook the meat and that is just gross.
When the brine is cool, submerge the pork chops, put in the refrigerator and allow to sit for 12-24 hours.
To cook the pork chops, remove from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry. In a large skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. When it is shimmering, sear the pork on all sides (about 2 minutes per side). Remove to a plate. They aren’t done yet. Add in a couple splashes of water or more apple cider to losen all the brown bits in the pan.
Turn the heat down to medium. Put the pork chops back in the skillet, cover with a lid and allow to continue cooking until the internal temperature of the chops is to your liking.
This is one of those instances where I’m not going to tell you what is right or wrong in regards to temperature. People get far too testy over things like this. Do your own independent research and do what tickles your pickle. Although please remember two things: once you remove meat from heat, it will continue to cook anywhere from five to ten degrees more and also, since we brined these bad boys, they’re going to cook quicker than they will if we hadn’t brined them.
This is up to you, hot pants. You can serve the Pumpkin Alfredo sauce as a topping or as the base of your dish. You can treat the compote like a topping or a condiment. Regardless, you will not be disappointed.