Fall is definitely in the air! We’ve had several mild frosts and last night we had a hard frost. There is snow on the mountains. The woodstove has been in use in the morning for the last week.
Goodbye summer, I’m going to miss you!
I am not a child of the cold but there are certain Fall traditions that I do like – apples fresh from the tree being one of them. I was lucky enough to have a friend drop off a bag of them to the hubby and I was able to make my all time favorite Fall meal – cabbage, apples and onions. I am not kidding you! It is a delicious combination that can accompany many meats or be mixed with noodles for a filling and comforting meal.
The Food Blogger’s Challenge food this week happens to be Apples so it was perfect timing for me to make up a batch of my Fall favorite. I paired it with crunchy baked pork chops and some peppery noodles for a delicious, welcome to Autumn dinner.
Crunchy Baked Pork with Cabbage, Apples and Onions and a Honey Balsamic Sauce
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For the Pork:
2 boneless pork chops, trimmed of fat
1/4 cup flour
1 TBS five spice powder
1/2 tsp salt
panko bread crumbs
For the Cabbage, Apples and Onions:
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/4″ pieces
1/2 head of cabbage
1 large onion, sliced thinly
1 TBS olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 TBS butter (optional)
salt to taste
For the Honey Balsamic Sauce:
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 TBS honey
1 tsp five spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS brandy (optional)
1 tsp butter (optional)
For the Peppered Noodles:
2 cups prepared egg noodles, preferably thick noodles
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
salt to taste
Making the cabbage, apples and onions takes a little time because you want to get some color on the onions. This is not a quick, done in half an hour meal. But you also don’t need to be at the stove the whole time – you just need to pay attention that the onions don’t burn.
Place a large saute pan over med-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the sliced onions and get them coated with the oil. Add a generous sprinkling of salt. Lower the heat to medium and let the onions cook until they are very soft and very brown. It’s OK if some of them look a little burnt. This will take close to an hour.
While the onions are cooking you can slice your apples and get the rest of the components ready for your dinner.
When the onions are ready – preheat the oven to 400°. If you have convection bake use it. Add the sliced apples to the onions in the pan. Stir to mix.
Add the sliced cabbage, the 1/2 cup of water and the butter if you are going to use it. Add a generous sprinkling of salt. Lower the heat to med-low and cover. Let this cook until the cabbage is soft and water is evaporated. About 40 minutes. Peak in on it periodically to stir and see if you need to adjust the heat.
Make a breading station for the pork; take the flour and mix it with the 5 spice powder and the salt. Mix the egg with a little water and put the panko on a plate. Dry off your pork chops, season them and dip them in the flour, the egg and then the panko.
Put them on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spray a little cooking spray on the pork chops and put them into the oven. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until crunchy and browned.
While the pork is baking put the water on to boil for noodles and make the sauce.
Add the balsamic, the honey, the 5 spice powder and the salt to a small sauce pan. Heat over med-high heat until it thickens and reduces. Remove from the heat and add the brandy if you are using it. Cook for another minute. Remove the heat and add the butter if you are using it. Let the butter just melt into the sauce.
It will be slightly thickened and rich. Set aside until you are ready to serve dinner.
After the noodles have cooked and are drained, take two cups of them and return them to the pot. Add the olive oil, freshly ground pepper and the thyme. Reserve a little thyme to sprinkle over the top. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
This may look intimidating but it’s really not. Most of the pieces really cook themselves. It’s more the timing; just have it so it all comes out at once and the cabbage, apples and onions can sit if they are done and you are not ready. They are just as tasty at room temperature as they are hot.
To serve you place some noodles, then a generous serving of the cabbage, apples and onions and then the pork chop just slightly on top of the vegetable fruit mix. Drizzle the sauce on top. The sauce packs a big punch so you don’t need a lot of it. Sprinkle the rest of the fresh thyme on the noodles.
The bite of the pepper in the noodles helps to balance the sweetness in the cabbage from the onions and apples. The 5 spice powder in the pork and sauce adds that background flavor that just tells you it’s Fall. The panko gives the baked pork a nice crunch without resorting to frying the meat.
I look forward to this meal every year!
Be sure to check out what the other Food Bloggers did with apples: