The Dark Horse

Well, well, well Cooking Light look who just took the coveted (shhhh…in my head it is coveted) winner of the cover recipe smackdown away from my favorite grilled cheese/short rib goodness. The Maple-Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree, created by none either than the lovely Ellie Krieger, was so excellent the only thing left on the plate were our finger smears and pork chop bones.

After a conversation with Lex about this “situation” we both felt that this recipe won due to a few things:

  1. While decadence is always a good thing, this recipe felt decadent without adding a lot to our bums unlike a grilled cheese sandwich. It was full of delicious flavors and good for you goodness like butternut squash. I could eat that sauce on almost anything. Two low-fat points for pork.
  2. The grilled cheese was easy to prepare but if you think about it, it’s also a sandwich and that can be a lot of work – for some – to make a sandwich. Point deduction grilled cheese.
  3. This came together in a New York minute and utilized many pantry staples, except frozen butternut squash which I found at Whole Foods Market. Point addition.
  4. This dish just plain rocked, so there. Point for pork.
  5. That sauce, oh dear that sauce! I think we’ve confirmed plenty of times here I’m a sucker for sauces. Five points for sauce.

I would like to clarify that I do not hold tight to these standards when judging all cover recipes, but when it came down to a game time decision the comments mentioned above helped the pork chop dish beat the grilled cheese by thismuch. Don’t get me wrong little lambs that grilled cheese will live on in my heart like Leonardo DiCaprio does but you’ve got to give the pork chops recipe a try. Heck make both and let us know if we are dead wrong!

I could not find the recipe online (come on people!) so you can find it below.

Maple-Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree
Cooking Light, March 2010
4 (6-ounce) bone-in center-cut pork chops
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Sprinkle both sides of pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but with a slight blush in the center. Remove from pan; keep warm.
3. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add butter to pan, swirling pan to coat. Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender and translucent. Add broth; bring to boil, and cook 1 minute. Stir in mustard, syrup, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Return pork to pan. Cook pork 1 minute on each side or until thoroughly heated (be careful not to overcook pork). Serve pork with sauce. Garnish each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons parsley.
Quick Winter Squash Puree
1/3 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (12-ounce) package frozen cooked butternut squash
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 teaspoon orange rind
1 1/2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1. Place broth and squash in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and cook 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add butter and remaining ingredients*; stir until well combined.
* We added a smidge of heavy cream to give this a little more body. :)

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