Pork Chops w Fork Mashed Apple Sweet Potato & Thyme/Walnut Pesto

A juicy pork chop is a terrific blank palette on which to build a quick meal. This mash and pesto make perfect sidekicks but both also play well with beef and chicken. Experiment!

Takes 45 mins – serves 4

Ingredients
- Pork chops for 4

Sweet Potato Mash ingredients
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & diced into 1 inch cubes
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped 1 inch cubes (honey crisp or granny smith)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Thyme/Walnut Pesto ingredients (makes 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) grated Parmesan
1/2 cup toasted walnuts (pinenuts work also)
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil

Method
1. Sweet Potato Mash
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a bowl toss apples and sweet potatoes with olive oil, salt, cinnamon and cayenne. Lay mixture on a baking tray, slide into oven and roast until soft (apples will soften first but that’s ok). Approx. 30/35 mins. Transfer to a large bowl and roughly mash with the back of a fork. Check seasoning. Set aside. 
2. Pesto
Add all ingredients to a food processor, hold back ¼ cup of olive oil. Blend and slowly add remaining oil until pesto consistency is achieved. Check for seasoning. 
3. Pork Chops
If you like to leave the fat along the edge it’s best to score it so it renders and crisps up nicely. Be sure to let chops reach room temp. In a very hot ovenproof skillet add a good splash of olive oil. Season chops heavily on each side and place in hot pan, sear for 3/4 mins on each side (or until golden brown). Once your chops first hit the pan immediately turn it down to a med/high heat. Be sure to also sear sides to render and crisp fat. Slide into 400F oven for 5 mins (internal temp of 135). Remove and let chops rest for 5 mins. Serve with a dollop of mash and drizzle of pesto.