Who would have thought that squash and golden raisins would be such a great combo? I really could have eaten an entire plate of the side dish for this recipe - Apple Juice Pork with Squash and Golden Raisins - but the pork was darn good, too.
This recipe reminds me so much of how far I've come with cooking. From simple meals of rice and chicken with no vegetable to be found, to a pork loin chop on a bed of butternut squash with onions, golden raisins, and sage. I mean, really. After a childhood filled with Shake and Bake pork chops, this dish is even more special!
Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:
Apple Juice Pork with Squash and Golden Raisins
Susan H. Gordon
From Every Day with Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Four 1-inch-thick boneless pork loin chops (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup apple juice
1/2 butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces [They sell small servings of butternut squash already peeled and cut into cubes, so if you are making half, this might be the way to go. I used the other half of mine for Darcy!]
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1. Preheat the oven to 250°. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add the pork chops and 1 more tablespoon olive oil between batches. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and tent with foil; place in the oven.
2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. [Seriously, scrape up those bits, they are little nuggets of flavor.] Stir in the apple juice, squash, raisins and sage; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash mixture to a bowl. Cook the remaining liquid until syrupy, about 5 minutes. [Took more like 10 for mine to get syrupy.] Serve the pork with the squash and pan sauce.