For this recipe always use the best-quality corn-fed pork available, counseled Alan Hooker, founder of the Ranch House Restaurant in Ojai Valley, California.
For the Purée
- 1 (2-lb.) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
- 1 (2") piece fresh ginger, quartered lengthwise
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. herb salt
- 2 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. sliced almonds
For the Pork Chops and Sauce
- 8 (8-oz.) loin pork chops, 1" thick, trimmed
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup vermouth
- 1 3⁄4 cups heavy cream
- 3 oz. Danish blue cheese, crumbled
- Freshly ground white pepper
For the purée: Put squash and ginger in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook until soft, 30–35 minutes. Remove and discard ginger. Drain squash and mash to a coarse purée. Stir in butter, herb salt, and brown sugar. Cover and keep warm.
For the sauce: Bring vermouth to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. Add cream and return to a boil. Reduce sauce by one-third, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in cheese, and season with pepper. Cover and keep warm.
Place an oiled grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush chops with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Grill until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. To serve, divide sauce among four plates. Put chops on top of sauce. Serve with a dollop of squash on the side, sprinkled with almonds.