PAN-SEARED PORK CHOPS
This is one of those easy meals that is quick to prep, yet flexible as you can cook it the day you prep it, or let it sit in the fridge for a few days and pull out on a night when you’re not in the mood to think about what’s for dinner!
PREP TIME: 10 min
COOK TIME: 10 min
FOR THE MEAT
4 pork chops, with bone (7 oz / 200 g each)
Salt & pepper to season
FOR THE MARINADE
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp dried oregano
4 tsp dried rosemary
4 tsp dried thyme
¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil (for the rub)
½ cup (120 ml) olive oil (for marinating)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
1 ½ -2 tsp (7–10 g) butter, to taste
1) Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
2) Mix the garlic, oregano, rosemary, thyme and ¼ cup olive oil into a paste, and rub into both sides of the meat with the back of a spoon.
3) Place the seasoned meat into a large Ziploc bag, pour in the remaining ½ cup olive oil and seal the bag tightly, trying to remove as much air as possible. Let sit for 15 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. You can also marinate it for up to 3 days and the flavors will be intensified.
4) Remove the pork chops from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking so that it has time to come to room temperature.
5) Heat a large, non-stick frying pan on medium high heat. When the pan is really hot, remove your pork chops from the Ziploc and place directly into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes to get a nice sear and flip. Cook for 1 minute on medium high then turn the heat down to medium and cook another 2-3 minutes, until chop is cooked through (will vary by thickness).
6) Remove pork chops from pan and place on a clean plate. Cover with foil and let rest
for 3-5 minutes.
MAKE THE SAUCE (optional)
7) While the chops are resting, add one clove minced garlic to pan and cook for 30 seconds. Deglaze your pan by pouring in the wine and stirring to dislodge all the yummy browned bits. Cook the wine for 1-2 minutes then turn off the heat. Add butter and stir until butter is melted and blended into the sauce.
Remove the foil from the pork chops and place them on a serving platter or individual plates. Pour the escaped juices from the meat back into the pan and stir.
Spoon a bit of sauce/juice from the pan over each pork chop.
Side dishes that compliment these pork chops included Red Cabbage & Beet Slaw, Fresh & Simple Green Beans, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes, Mushroom Bulgur Risotto. Take your pick!
Go for dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or pinot gris (grigio).
You can use fresh herbs if you prefer, but if you don’t have to hand, dried are great as they soften and mellow in the marinating process.
The flavor and moistness of the pork chops improves the longer you marinate it. That said, I've popped them straight into an oiled pan after rubbing on the herbs and garlic and they're yummy. They just MORE yummy when they've had time to tenderize and absorbe flavors over 1-3 days in the fridge. Either way, you'll have something tasty on the plate!
I’ve found that some pork chops have extremely sharp bones, which can puncture the Ziploc bag. So I now place the sealed Ziploc on a plate or in a small baking dish just incase I get a puncture and the bag leaks.
Be sure to remove the pork chops from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking (longer if you have a lot of thick pieces) so that they have time to come to room temperature. This is important to ensure you have meat that is nicely browned on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside. Placing cold meat in the pan or on the grill means that it will take longer for the center to reach 140 F (60C), which means the outside of the meat will likely burn before the inside is cooked.
There’s probably no need to add oil to the pan as you’ll have residual oil from the marinade clinging to the pork chops, and that’s usually enough to keep it from sticking to the pan. This may not apply to stainless steel pans, so just make a mental note what works best with your cookware.
Thin pork chops ( ¾ of an inch / 2 cm) will cook very quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Thicker chops take longer. It’s something you just get a feel for. If you’ve got really thick pork chops, then use a meat thermometer and remove them from the pan when they are 140F/60C in the center and tent with foil.
Deglazing is a term used to describe the process of adding liquid to a pan after food has been browned in order to dislodge and dissolve the flavorful bits left after the browning processes. This in turn makes for a quick and easy to create a flavor-packed sauce.
It’s important to turn the heat off before you add butter to the sauce as the butter can split (the fats and proteins will separate) if the heat is too high, and the split-off fats just give you an oily effect.
If cooking with wine or making a sauce is not your thing, no worries, these chops taste excellent on their own. The sauce just punches it up a bit for when you want to feel more indulgent…or maybe impress guests. ;-)