Pork Chops and Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

When I was a little girl, I loved going to the farm with my dad for Sunday chores.

I would “drive” the pickup down the gravel road off the highway. The farm dog — usually a German Shepherd mix, and always named “Ginger” or “Lassie” for as long as my dad could remember — would greet us excitedly, jump up all over me, and scare the bejesus out of me.

Once in the hog building, he would push some buttons, releasing the feed would be released. My little cowboy boot-clad feet would kick the excess feed into the troughs. Every once in awhile, a sow would be loose from her pen and running around. That’s when the terror of a big scary farm dog gets trumped by a big, scary pig running around, trying to trample you to death and kill you.

(Have my memories embellished over the last 20-some years, or is life really that scary when you’re 4?)

Ironically, as a child I didn’t really care for pork. Other than bacon and sausage, natch, and smoked pork chops cooked on the grill in the summer. Regular pork chops, tenderloin, ribs, pork shoulder, and even ham were things I tolerated as a kid when I had to, but fell in love with as an adult — years after my family left the hog business.

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I love incorporating pork chops into my weeknight menus. Simple, quick, and versatile. This recipe comes together in under an hour, with less than 15 minutes of hands-on work, and features a few seasonal ingredients. It’s the kind of recipe that works equally well on a weeknight after the gym or hosting dinner guests on a Sunday night.

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Pork Chops and Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette

Adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves 2
1 tablespoon roasted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1 1/2 – 2 pounds acorn or other winter squash, seeded and cut into 1″ wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1″-thick bone-in pork chops
1 clove garlic, inced
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon or more fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast squash, turning occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 35-40 minutes.
When squash has been roasting for 30 minutes, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and cook until brown, 5-8 minutes. Turn over and cook until pork is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
Whisk garlic, chopped cilantro, lime juice, pepitas, and remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a small bowl to combine. Season vinaigrette with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.
Divide squash and pork among plates; spoon vinaigrette over. Top with cilantro leaves.
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One comment

  1. We made this a few weeks ago (when it was still cold and squash seemed appropriate). It was fantastic. Thanks for the rec!

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