Cook Date: October 31, 2020. Halloween.
I wasn’t done with the pork and apples theme I started last week. I still had two uncooked pork chops in the freezer and our refrigerator is overflowing with apples. I found a Food Network super easy sheet pan recipe for pork chops, apples, and parsnips.
After defrosting the pork chops, I dry brined them with a sprinkle of kosher salt while I prepared the rest of dinner.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, we live in apple heaven here in the Pacific Northwest. The recipe calls for Honeycrisp, but I used a Fuji.
But, parsnips? I don’t recall ever cooking them before; heck, I wasn’t even sure what they looked like. Well, parsnips look like white carrots with a bit more taper to them.
As I said, it’s a simple recipe with just a few ingredients.
The parsnips take the longest to cook. The recipe calls for peeling, slicing lengthwise, putting on the sheet pan and drizzling oil over the top. I’m not crazy about that approach; I usually end up with pools of olive oil. So, instead, I tossed the vegetables with olive oil and kosher salt in a large mixing bowl before putting on the sheet. The recipe called for sprinkling fresh thyme leaves on top; we only had dried. It works. They get a headstart in a 400° (F) oven for 20 minutes
While they roasted, I prepped the apple. After coring and slicing into ½-inch wedges I mixed with a bit of olive oil then sprinkled the cinnamon on top.
Then I turned my attention to the pork chops. I brushed on a tablespoon of dijon mustard then sprinkled the herbs d’Provence.
Finally, push the parsnips together in the middle of the pan, pork chops on one side and the apple on another and back in the oven for 20 minutes – until the chops are cooked.
If you compare this picture with the Food Network picture of their recipe you’ll think they are different recipes. Their pork chops are golden brown – I don’t know how they do that in a 400° oven; I think you need to sauté them on the stove top first. And my poor little parsnips got hammered in that oven. The Food Network pic shows them lightly toasted. Because they are so tapered, the skinny bottoms get scorched.
It makes for a simple dinner, with not a lot of color.
No worries; the pork chops were very moist thanks to that oven cooking instead of frying in a pan. The parsnips were good and not as burnt as the picture indicates. They taste like a cross between a carrot and a yam. They were firm on the outside with a softer texture – like a yam or sweet potato – inside. The apples were sublime; take a closer look at the picture above. Most of those apple slices had that side up during roasting. But one on the bottom, partially covered, is flipped over and it looks like an apple from an apple pie. They were so good.
Dinner is served.
Rating: ★★★. Tasty and a great simple meal for Carla and me. The pork chops and apples I cooked the week before were much better and company ready: more browning on the chops, and a scrumptious pan sauce.
This could be better if I take it a bit easier on the parsnips for their first pass through the oven. Or maybe I’d switch to carrots and parboil them before roasting. Sautéing the pork chops first, to get some color on them would be nice. But all those steps defeat the goal of a quick and easy dinner.
This had to be a quick dinner because it was Halloween and our grandkids were coming over to spend the night. They did some limited trick-or-treating at their neighbors house and a couple of our friends made treat bags for them. Instead of going out to trick-or-treat from our house they went door-to-door through the rooms at our house where we plied them with candy and toys. Later we all watched the Charlie Brown Halloween special and a couple of episodes of the Wild Kratts.
A note about the photography
As I mentioned, this had to be a quick meal because our grandsons were coming over for the night. I didn’t have time for the complete lighting setup I usually use: LEDs or two flashes mounted in softboxes or reflective umbrellas.. But I wanted to grab some photos and blog about it in order to provide a book end for the previous pork chop and apples recipe. So, I used my Sony A6600 with a Sony FE 1.8/35mm lens and a Godox TT350s speedlight mounted in the hot shoe. The photo lighting was much better that I expected.