This dish screams fall all over. Orange! Apple! Bourbon! Pork! Bacon! And yum, don’t forget yum. Although this dish might look long and complicated, once you get going it is quick to prepare – and only dirties up a single pan + a small pot. Win-win.
For the apple bourbon gastrique
1/4 c. apple juice or apple cider
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar (I used Dr. Bronner’s)
1/4 c. bourbon or whiskey (I used Honey Jack – yes, I’m aware bourbon – especially a bastardized bourbon – isn’t strict paleo. Suck it, paleo police. It’s delicious.)
Add to a small pot over high heat. Boil until reduced by a third.
For the bacon-studded sweet potato mash & apples
2 small sweet potatoes
4 c. vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme + 2 tsp. thyme leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
4 slices thick cut bacon
1 granny smith apple
Peel and dice the potatoes (about 1/4 inch cubes – I ended up with about 2 cups). Add to a medium pot and cover with the stock. Add the thyme and set over high heat. Boil 5 minutes, or until tender. When the potatoes are fork tender, drain – reserving about half a cup of cooking liquid – and add to a food processor. Mash with 2 tsp. chopped thyme, the chili powder and salt until smooth, adding splashes of reserved cooking liquid as you go.
While your potatoes are boiling, fry the bacon until crispy and slice the apple thinly. When the bacon is browned, remove from the pan and set aside to drain. Crumble and mix in with the mashed potatoes.
To the hot pan, add the apple and fry in bacon fat until browned. Remove and set aside.
For the pork
2 boneless butterflied pork chops
1 Tbsp. chopped thyme
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Heat the coconut oil in the vacated pan over medium-high heat. Pat the chops dry with paper towels and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper and thyme on both sides. When the pan is hot, add the chops and cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until done to your liking.
Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving.