The weekend allows for more time in the kitchen, so for Sunday’s dinner I decided on the pork chops with carmelized onions on a bed of whipped squash. While this is a not a typical French dish, it is typical of the kind of meal you might eat at a French bistro.
The ingredients are simple and spare:
4-6 pork chops, bone in or boneless, room temp and salted
3 medium size yellow onions
1 acorn squash
Salt and pepper
Cut the squash in half, sprinkle with salt and arrange the squash, inverted, in one layer in a buttered baking dish. Bake the squash, covered with foil, in the middle of a preheated 375°F oven for 1 hour. When it is finished baking, allow the squash to cool. When the squash is cooled, scoop it out, add butter to your taste, a pinch or two of nutmeg, and mash it. You could also use a food processor, but I like to keep it simple. You can keep the squash warm in a slow oven while you prepare the chops.
Heat olive oil and butter in a heavy bottomed skillet—a pat of butter and a teaspoon of olive oil per onion. Thin slice the onions and put them into the heated skillet. I like to salt my onions, to bring out the flavor, but it isn’t necessary. The key to caramelizing onions is to slow cook them—about 30 minutes. This releases the natural sugars which caramelize and give the onions that rich, sweet flavor.
When the onions are caramelized, remove them from the skillet, add a bit more oil and butter then add the pork chops. The key is to brown the chops on the outside and cook them through without burning them.
While you can serve the chops, squash, and onions side-by-side on a plate, I prefer to plate the chops in a rimmed shallow bowl on a bed of squash, then top with the onions and a sprig of fresh thyme. This evening I served an inexpensive Shiraz, and for dessert, fresh grapes.
The ingredients were fresh and the cost of the meal came in at around $8.00, which delights my frugal French side
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