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Apple and Caramelized Onion Pork Chops with Zucchini Pancakes

I know this blog is seriously lacking in the meat department. I can’t help it. I love my veggies and my strict food budget sometimes does not allow for the amount of money it costs to buy slabs of animal flesh. Soon enough (less than two weeks and counting!) I will be going to my very own retro style butcher shop. It even has it’s own hanging room, or whatever it is you call it where the carcasses are hung before butchering. I seriously cannot wait. Although I despise moving more than I despise fast food, the thought of getting out of the city and into the sticks is so very, very appealing. We’re even going to try our hand at backyard chickens. Any info or advice would be very much appreciated. I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to my dog, let alone small brained fowl who poop out eggs everyday (everyday or every other day?).

In celebration of the coming fall months (my most favourite of seasons!) and to use up some of those apples that are still hanging around my kitchen, I decided stuffed pork chops were in order. Sadly I didn’t inspect my chops carefully for size, and they were a bit too small to stuff, but this recipe overcomes that. They became stacks of a sort….delicious savory pork topped with slightly softened, herb coated apples and sweet, caramelized onions. All contrasting with the salty layer of cheese to top it off. This recipe calls for almost a whole bottle of beer as well, because when I used to work in a brewpub (or gastropub as they put it), it was mandatory to try to fit beer into every recipe.

As much as this meal is a celebration of the coming autumn season, it is also a salute to the end of summer. The bounty that is the ridiculous amounts of zucchini is upon us and we don’t even have a zucchini plant! Wherever I turn, people are trying to give away more zucchini. It just keeps coming our way.

This is a very easy, fast recipe that will eliminate at least a couple of your overabundant zucchinis (or more depending on family size).

So give it a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I recommend making the apples, caramelized onions and zucchini pancake batter in advance, that way it is just a matter of making the pancakes, assembling it all and finishing the pork in the oven.

For the Caramelized Onions

1 Large yellow onion (or white, or vidalia, or Walla Walla, don’t matter)
1 tsp. canola oil
about 3/4 cup dark beer (I used a honey brown), you can drink the rest, I did!
1 Tbsp yellow or brown sugar (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Peel onion and slice in half down the centre (top to bottom). Now slice thinly into half moons.
2. Heat oil in high walled sauté pan, add onions. Cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
3. Add 1/2 cup beer, sugar, salt & pepper.

Caramelizing the onions

4. Allow to cook until all liquid is gone and a glaze begins to form on the bottom of your pan.
5. Use the remaining beer to deglaze the pan (you can so this a couple of times).
6. Set aside.

Caramelized onions

Apple “Stuffing”

2 Apples, peeled, cored and cubed
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground sage or use fresh if you have it
1/4 cup beer (I used the same beer as for the onions)
salt & pepper to taste

1. In a saucepan, add all ingredients and cook on medium for about 5 minutes, just enough to soften the apples.
2. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Pork Chops

Two butterflied Pork Loin chops (boneless)
S & P
1 tsp Canola oil
2 oz. (about 1/2 a cup) Feta cheese (Brie would work really well too)

1. Heat oven to 400°F.
2. Season pork with salt & pepper.
3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium high. When ready, add in pork and allow to sear for 3-4 minutes on each side.
4. When finished searing (they are meant to be undercooked at this point), put pork chops on a baking tray. Crumble cheese over top, then add a layer of apple, then top with a layer of onions.
5. Bake in oven for about 5 minutes or until pork chops are done to about medium.
6. Allow to rest a few minutes before devouring. Serve with Zucchini pancakes.

Zucchini Pancakes

Overabundant zucchini!

2 Medium sized zucchinis
1 large egg
1/3 cup all purpose flour (whole grain would work fine)
1/2 cup Whole grain cornmeal
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp sour cream
S & P
1 tsp canola oil

1. In a large bowl grate zucchini.
2. Add in all other ingredients and stir well to combine. Should be the consistency of a pancake batter, if not, add a little more all purpose flour.
3. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet on medium high. Scoop by spoonfuls into hot pan, turn when edges begin to brown.
4. When cooked through, serve with sour cream.

Your delicious fall summer meal

These pancakes are great for little ones too. My son ate 1 1/2 of them before giving up, but that’s serious progress in this house! I am determined to rouse him from this pickiness and make him into Mommy’s little foodie. It’s a lifelong project, but I have determination. When I’m old, tired and beginning to lose that creative edge, I hope to have a gourmand on hand to make me food.

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