Pork Loin Chops with Apples & Leeks

It's the middle of November and that means it's time to plot and plan for Thanksgiving. And while this year is likely to be different than year's past (please keep it small and keep it at home), there's still an opportunity to share good food together and be grateful for what we have. My own family will be having several zoom calls with close friends and family on and around the day, but dinner will be for the three of us (four, if you count the dog - which we do!). So I'll be sharing a few ideas for a festive, if smaller, Thanksgiving meal over the next week. This time around, we're offering a different, smaller main course.

While turkey can be traditional, it can also spell an eternity for those with small households. With that in mind, understand the first Thanksgiving included all sorts of amazing dishes and this one, featuring apples, leeks, and baby turnips, is a perfect choice for those wishing to keep the meal smaller, but still elegant. Plan ahead for the marinating and resting and then enjoy the fact that you only have about a half hour of hand's on time to finish it up!

Most of the traditional holiday sides pair nicely with this dish as well, so you can keep your meal more or less the same with just a change in the centerpiece, as it were. And, truth be told, I find pork chops an absolutely delightful stand in for the giant bird. Enjoy!

Pork Loin Chops with Apples & Leeks

  • ¼ c. soy sauce - choose gluten free if opting for a gluten free dish
  • ¼ c. cider vinegar
  • ¾ c. vegetable oil
  • 2 T. fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. powdered ginger
  • ¼ c. maple syrup
  • 2 T. grainy mustard
  • 5-6 boneless pork loin chops
  • 1 T. cooking fat of your choice
  • 1 tsp. Bavarian Style Seasoning or similar seasoning blend
  • 1 c. sliced leeks
  • 1 small bunch baby turnips, halved
  • ½ crisp apple, cored and sliced into wedges
  • High quality balsamic vinegar

In a large container, combine the first eight ingredients (soy sauce through grainy mustard) to form a marinade. Pierce the pork chops with a fork and add them to the marinade, making sure to coat them well. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. When you are ready to cook, remove the meat and discard the marinade. Leave the pork chops rest at room temperature for 15-20 minutes, this will relax the meat fibers and make for a more tender juicy pork chop. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cooking fat of your choice to the pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle the pork chops evenly with the Bavarian Style Seasoning or similar seasoning blend. Add the pork chops to the pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until pork chops are seared on each side. Remove from the pan; keep warm. Add the leeks, baby turnips, and apple slices to the pan. Sauté for 5-7 minutes or until everything is crisp-tender. Add the pork chops back to the pan and broil it all for 2-3 minutes to finish and add a little texture. Drizzle the top of the chops with good balsamic vinegar just before serving.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus marinating and resting time