Cooking it on a sheet pan doesn’t make it ‘supper’

Sheet-pan suppers are up and coming, as this week’s food section proclaimed.

And my story isn’t the only one heralding this updated approach to the Sunday roast. The St. Louis Post Dispatch gave the trend a hearty spread in one of its recent editions. But for all of writer Daniel Neman’s enthusiasm for the method, he’s quick to dismiss dishes that simply don’t qualify as “supper” despite their preparation on a sheet pan.

Pizza, he insists, does not fit the format. To that list, I’ll add nachos. And baked potatoes. And bacon-onion-cheese biscuits. Anything that ordinarily would be cooked on a sheet pan anyway, regardless of the type and quantity of ingredients used, isn’t really what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about a hands-off way to prepare a meal of meat, vegetables and, perhaps, starch in much less time than the traditional roasting method, resulting in better color, texture and flavor. Like Neman I took something of a hard stance on a recipe previously posted to this blog that didn’t constitute supper per se because it lacked a vegetable. I suggested adding quartered fennel bulbs to the mélange of lemon, olives and garlic roasting alongside chicken thighs. Fingerling potatoes would be delicious, too.

Apples also get the sheet-pan treatment in the following recipe that pairs pork chops and Brussels sprouts. Like the recipe for chicken and winter squash published with my story and reviewed in my podcast, it starts with a spice mixture for the meat and finishes the dish with a vinaigrette.

Tribune News Service photo

Pork Chops With Roasted Apples and Brussels Sprouts

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 tablespoons light brown sugar, divided

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary, divided

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

4 (1-inch thick) bone-in center-cut pork chops

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar

1 Gala apple, cut into 1/2-inch wedges

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, chili powder, garlic salt, red pepper, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper. Rub each of the pork chops with 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil; rub both sides of each pork chop with brown sugar-spice mixture.

In another small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Slowly whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil until blended. In a large bowl, combine the apples, Brussels sprouts and 1/4 cup vinegar mixture; toss to coat.

Place seasoned pork chops in center of prepared baking sheet; place apple mixture around chops.

Bake for 12 minutes; turn chops over and bake until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 140 F, for 10 to 14 more minutes. Transfer pork chops to a serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Stir apple mixture on baking sheet and spread into an even layer.

Turn oven to broil, and broil apple mixture for 3 to 4 minutes or until browned and lightly charred. Transfer apple mixture to a medium bowl. Toss together apple mixture and remaining vinegar mixture. Season with salt, and serve with pork chops. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from “One Sheet Eats,” by Oxmoor House.

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