Saturday, May 9, 2009

Five Ingredient Fix

I do not know who this new girl is, cooking on Food Network, but she just won me over with today's menu. I started stalking her at sweet potatoes with caramelized onions, and then she knocked me on my ass with roasted brussels sprouts with bacon lardons. Claire Robinson, I'm keeping my eye on you.
I made these with apricot glazed pork chops, and it was a perfect pairing. Of course, I upped the bacon content from 4 oz to 6 (come on, it's bacon) in the brussels sprouts. I admit to being a little unsure of the apples and walnuts and I almost skipped them and just did bacony sprouts. I'm glad I went for it though, as the apples and nuts added some really good fresh, green & nutty flavors, respectively. I might have the sweet potato's babies, if it were to ask me to. Holy jeez those were good.

Maple Sweet Potato Puree with Caramelized Onions
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into rough chunks
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup, plus 2 tablespoons (I think we all know Vermont maple syrup is the only way to go here)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided in 1/2
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 large Vidalia or other sweet onion, thinly sliced
Hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup of the maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large mixing bowl. Toss to evenly coat and place on sheet tray. Roast in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. Be sure to check on them after 15 minutes and stir, if needed.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced onion, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the pan becomes dry.

Transfer sweet potato mixture to a food processor, (may need to be done in batches) and add about a tablespoon of hot water. Pulse until just blended and then add half the caramelized onions. Pulse just a few times until desired consistency, adding more hot water for a smoother puree. Fold in remaining caramelized onions, reserving some for garnish.

Serve in a warm dish and garnish with the reserved caramelized onions. YUMMY!!!

Crispy Brussels Sprouts
4 ounces thick slab applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a sheet pan, lay out bacon slices. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned and the fat has rendered. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Carefully toss Brussels sprouts in the hot pan, and season with salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven, and roast, turning once, until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven, the walnuts and apples and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving platter, top with the bacon, and serve warm.

Apricot Glazed Pork Chops
four pork chops (I used boneless, but either is fine)
1 jar of apricot/orange marmalade/jam
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup hot water
salt & pepper
2-4 tbsp olive oil

I heated up the marmalade/jam and mixed in some vinegar and hot water along with 2 tbsp olive oil. I seasoned the pork with salt and pepper and let it marinate in the jam mixture for about an hour. I heated another tbsp or so of olive oil in a pan and once hot, placed the chops in to sear. I cooked them for approximately 7 minutes on each side while allowing the sauce to cook down and thicken.
They were okay, but nothing phenomenal. I think maybe they needed a little bit more tang so maybe next time I'll add more vinegar, or maybe try them with sweet chili sauce.

I managed to get a non-brussels sprout eater to go back for seconds on this one, so you know it's seriously good. Washed down with a nice spicy Syrah, and followed up with fresh strawberries with vanilla yogurt, and a nice mellow Scotch over Tarot readings, and this was a meal that won't soon be forgotten.


Quinn said...

Those both sound great! Good call on the VT maple syrup!

Quinn said...

Saw your recipe this morning and made the sweet potatoes tonight. They were delightful with a little Sriracha sour cream on the side.