The leaves are already starting fall…hey wait a minute! Seems like they just turned, how quickly winter arrives. Thankfully autumn brings some hearty and kid friendly dishes. Simon, my 8 year old has very strong opinions, especially when it comes to food and family time. Whoa. I thought this was supposed to start when he was 12 or 13?? Looks like we have a long road ahead;) He has ideas about everything and I mean EVERY SINGLE THING. Each weekend we go on a family hike, something he used to enjoy, now it’s like pulling teeth to get him in the car. In terms of his own personal growth this is wonderful. He is developing his personality – likes and dislikes. In connection with the operation of house and home….urm, not so much.
Food has become the most contentious issue. Simon’s Dad is a chef and this complicates dinner time even further. His experience with food is far more sophisticated than my burgers and fries upbringing. He understands the difference between sushi and sashimi and has eaten dishes from around the world. His idea of mac n’ cheese includes 5 different kinds of cheeses with a topping of homemade bread crumbs?? Combine that with an outspoken nature and you have a recipe for one picky eater. HELP!
So what do you do when it comes time for family dinners and one member has decided to become a food critic? Do you respect the fact that he has some really well thought out ideas about his food choices or do you say – hey kid what I make is what you eat? So far I have taken the latter tactic. It’s not realistic to cater to him 24/7, but I do bear in mind his likes and dislikes when planning the weekly menu. How do you handle your picky eaters and dinner battles? Suggestions are welcome.
This week I am sharing my potentially kid friendly pork chops with apples & onions recipe (to be brutally honest Simon pushes the apples and onions off to the side but he does love pork chops and mash 😉
Mennonite Pork Chops with Apples, Onions and Maple, Red Wine Jus inspired by Lucinda Scala Quinn’s recipe @ Martha Stewart
4 bone in pork chops 3/4 – 1 inch thick
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp butter
2 large apples
1 large onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup red wine
1/8 cup maple syrup
* serves 4
Caramelize the apples and onions first. This is the longest part of the process. I prep the apples by peeling and slicing them into manageable pieces. It depends on your taste – if you slice them thinly it takes less time but I personally like them on the juicy side so mine were thicker. You should also bear in mind the size of your onions when you do this. If you slice the onions too thinly w. the thick cut apples they will cook too fast and over brown. Melt the butter and oil in a medium cast iron pan and then add the apples, onions, cinnamon and salt. Fry on medium heat until the apples and onions are soft and brown. This took about 25 – 30 minutes.
Make sure your pork chops are dry and room temperature before you fry them. Salt each side liberally. Bring an large oil cast iron pan to medium high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer place the pork chops on with the bones facing the middle of the pan. Fry for 4 minutes, flip then fry for another 4 minutes. Wrap the pork chops in tin foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Save the juices left in the tin foil for your sauce.
When you transfer the pork chops to the tin foil, move the apple mixture to the pork chop pan. Bring to medium heat and then deglaze the pan with the red wine. My wine and maple syrup measurements can be changed to suit your tastes. Experiment with thinner and thicker sauces – or you can make it less sweet or more. The key is to play with recipes to customize them to your taste.
Bring sauce to a boil and then quickly remove from the heat and add the maple syrup. Pour the reserved pork juice from your foil over the top. Serve the pork chops over mashed potatoes and top with the apples and onions.
Mmmmmm, mmmmmm love me some apples!