Monday, 2 November 2009

Harvest Dinner - Mustard Pork Chops, Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese, and an Autumn Slaw

This week's cooking club theme is Autumn Harvest. My mind goes directly to squash when I think of Canadian fall flavours, and I chose to do a dish based on butternut squash that I found in Nigella Express. I soon found some nice pork chops in the same book that went well with the squash, and I rounded the dishes out with an easy autumn slaw.
Simple, colourful, and healthy - this is an autumn meal that is nice to come home to on a dark and windy night.

Dark because it is so late? No, thanks to the time change, it was dark when I walked the dogs at 5pm! I'm not ready for this.

Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese
Nigella Lawson, Nigella Express,

4-pounds 8-ounces butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 stalks fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pecans
1 cup crumbled Roquefort or other blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into 1-inch cubes; you don't need to be precise just keep the pieces uniformly small.

Put into a roasting tin with the oil and strip about 4 stalks thyme of their leaves, sprinkling over the butternut squash. If you can't get any fresh thyme, sprinkle over dried.

Roast in the oven for about 30 to 45 minutes or until tender.

Once out of the oven, remove the squash to a bowl and scatter over the pecans and crumble over the cheese tossing everything together gently. Check the seasoning and add the last couple of stalks of thyme torn into small sprigs to decorate.

Mustard Pork Chops
Nigella Lawson, Nigella Express,

2 pork chops, about 1-pound total weight
2 teaspoons garlic infused oil
1/2 cup hard cider
1 tablespoon grain mustard
1/3 cup heavy cream

Cut the fat or rind off the chops, and then bash them briefly but brutally with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of cling film/plastic wrap to make them thinner.

Heat the oil in a pan, and then cook the chops over a moderately-high heat for about 5 minutes a side. Remove them to a warmed plate.

Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so then add the mustard and stir in the cream.

Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each plated pork chop.
For the Autumn Slaw, I just combined shredded cabbage, carrot and thinly sliced apples and seasoned to taste with apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, grainy mustard, mayonnaise and sliced green onions.