This is a nice, wholesome, dare-I-say-healthy dinner for December, when things are otherwise frazzled but you don’t just want to keep eating macaroni and cheese until Christmas. It's a true kitchen miracle for this most wonderful time of the year.
And it came together so seamlessly and without much grief. I don't always love cooking with meat, but when it's this easy I do not mind. And you don't have to use pearl onions! Any onion will do.
Pork With Sweet Potatoes and Pearl Onions
1 large sweet potato, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 cup peeled pearl onions, or 1 small white onion cut into chunks
2 cups apple cider (or broth of your choice)
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 apple, diced
2 thick-cut boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup water
2 cups arugula
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with olive oil, then add sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Bake sweet potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking to make sure they don’t burn on one side.
Add a splash of olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high until hot. Add onions and cook until slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then pour apple cider into the skillet. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil, then let cook for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add rosemary and thyme, and let simmer for 10 minutes until liquid has reduced a bit and onions are soft. Add apple, stir for about 30 seconds, then cover, turn heat to low and let sit on burner while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Set a smaller skillet over medium-high heat and add another splash of olive oil. Pat pork chops dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Add chops to hot skillet, and cook on each side for 5 minutes. Check temperature for doneness; I cook mine to about 155 degrees. Remove from heat when done and place on a plate to rest.
Return skillet used to cook pork to heat and add butter and water. Season with more salt and pepper, and bring to a low boil. Add a splash of the reserved cider-onion mixture. Cook, scraping up all the bits on the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes a thin sauce.
Divide arugula evenly between two plates, then layer over that the sweet potatoes and pork chops. Top with pearl onions and apples, then spoon pan sauce over top of everything. Serve with any reserved onion-apple cider liquid on the side.