Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spicy Baked Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

Who doesn't like delicious food? Okay, you can GTFO. Everyone else, this meal was totally scrumptious, as well as warming for a winter night, which it definitely still is here in Chicago, no bones about it. Speaking of no bones, these are boneless pork chops, which I prefer over bone-in. They just always seem to come out juicier.

I served this with some creamed spinach I found in the freezer, but any steamed green vegetable would be an excellent way to add color and extra nutrition to this meal.

Before you set off on the full recipe, you're going to want to whip up a batch of this Shake'n'Bake-style breadcrumb coating. It's damn delicious.

Spicy Homemade Breadcrumb Crust
Makes enough to coat 6 large boneless pork chops
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly, then add vegetable oil and mix with a fork until oil is distributed evenly and crumbs are a uniform size. This will keep in a well-sealed container for about two week. Not actually, though, because you'll want to put it on everything.

On to the main recipe!

Spicy Baked Pork Chops with Butternut Squash
Makes 6 servings
2 lbs. butternut squash, diced into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
6 boneless pork chops (about 4 oz apiece and 1 inch thick)
1 recipe Spicy Homemade Breadcrumb Crust

Preheat your oven to 400º F. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet on the middle rack for 18 minutes.

While the squash is in the oven, line another baking sheet with foil. Divide the breadcrumb mixture in half and put it into two gallon size plastic bags.* Rinse the pork chops in cold water and shake off the excess. Working with one chop at a time, place them into the plastic bag and shake vigorously to coat. Remove, being careful not to disturb the coating, and place onto the prepared baking sheet.

After the butternut squash has roasted for 18 minutes, raise the oven temperature to 425º F. Toss the squash a little with a spoon to make sure it's heating evenly. Move it up one rack and place the pork chops on the newly vacant one. Bake for 13-16 minutes, until the chops are firm, but still have a little give in the middle. Remove all food from the over and feast.

*This is to keep the mixture from getting too weird and lumpy to use with all six pork chops.

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