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RECIPE:  HERB-RUBBED 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:  5 min

COOK TIME:  10 min

SERVES:  4

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE CHOPS
  • 4 pork chops, with bone (7 oz / 200 g each)

  • Salt & pepper to season

  • 1 sachet TASTE OF TUSCANY spice blend

  • 3 TBSP (45 ml) olive oil for the rub

  • 1 TBSP (15 ml) olive oil for the pan

 
 
OPTIONAL SAUCE
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine

  • 1 ½ -2 tsp (7–10 g) butter, to taste

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COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

1)  Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides.

 

2)  Mix one sachet of TASTE OF TUSCANY spice blend with olive oil.

 

3)  Divided herb mixture evenly across one side of the chops, and rub in with the back of a spoon.

 

* * * * *

From here you can either seal in a ziploc bag to marinate and cook later (see Cooks Notes below), or proceed to step 4 and cook right away.

 

* * * * *

 

4)  Add 1 TBSP olive oil to a hot pan and sear, herb-side down, 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

5)  Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook another 4-5 minutes until chops are cooked all the way through (will vary by thickness).

 

6)  Remove from pan, cover loosely with foil and let rest 2-3 min before serving.

 

OPTIONAL SAUCE:   While the pork chops rest,  deglaze your pan by pouring in the wine and stirring to dislodge all the yummy browned bits.  Cook for 1 minute on medium heat, stirring constantly.  Turn of the heat, add a small knob of butter and stir until melted through.  Remove the foil from the pork chops, and pour the escaped juices from the meat back into the pan and stir.  Spoon over chops as desired.

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SERVE

 

Transfer pork chops to a serving platter or individual plates, and spoon a bit of sauce/juice from the pan over each chop.

 

Side dishes that compliment these pork chops included Red Cabbage & Beet Slaw, Fresh & Simple Green Beans, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Zucchini Gratin, Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes, Mushroom Bulgur Risotto.  Take your pick!

COOK'S NOTES

INGREDIENTS

Go for dry white wine like sauvignon blanc or pinot gris (grigio).

 

MARINDAE OPTION

 

The flavor and moistness of the pork chops improves the longer you marinate it.  So

IF you happen to think about it in advance, follow step 1-3, transfer pork chops to a ziploc bag, add a bit more olive oil,  seal and refrigerate for a few hours or even 1-3 days.  This will make your chops even more flavourful and tender.  And then that step is already done when you have a busy night – take them out and sear them in a pan.  How easy is that?

 

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.

COOKING PROCESS

 

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.

SAUCE PROCESS

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.  ;-)

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

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