This recipe looks fairly fancy (well, fancier than a can of beans . . . the bar is set pretty low around here.) But honestly this entire dinner was cooked in 20 minutes. Twenty minutes which also included pulling crayons out of someone's mouth, giving someone else a timeout for repeatedly hitting her brother in the face, changing a diaper, helping someone who fell off the potty . . . and opening up a bottle of wine. You get the picture.
First a few notes on buying pork chops:
- Only buy fresh. You should need to talk to a human to get your meat.
- At my grocery store you can either choose "thin cut" which is about 3/4" thick, or "thick cut" which is about 1.5 - 2" thick. My cooking method is slightly different for each, but I've included it below.
- If you have a choice for bone-in or boneless, ALWAYS CHOOSE BONE-IN. The bone adds a ton of flavor, and the bits right around the bone are the best. Yes, my family and I gnaw on the bones like animals. Family bonding :)
- And while you are grocery shopping, buy FRESH SAGE. It's in the produce section. Sage should look like leaves on a stem - not flakes in a jar.
Okay . . . now for how to cook it. As with all meat, I like to give it a good sear and then cook through.
If possible, bring pork chops to room temperature before you start cooking. Ideally, you don't want them right out of the fridge (but you do what you have to do.) Pat them dry with a paper towel and give them a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper on both sides.
In a cast iron skillet, heat some vegetable oil over medium/high heat until VERY hot.
Add pork chops to the pan, and you should hear the sizzle right away. Now DON'T TOUCH for 3-ish minutes. If you move them around they won't get that nice brown sear you want. After 3 minutes (or whenever you see one has a nice brown sear underneath) flip it and do the other side for the same amount of time.
During this time, peel and chop an apple or two (for cooking I like a tart apple like a granny smith.) This is also the time to wash and pull sage leaves off the stem.
For thin-cut pork chops: once both sides are seared, I just leave them in the pan over medium heat for about three more minutes and this should cook it through just fine. (I have been known to cut open a piece to make sure it isn't bright pink inside. A little pink is fine as it will continue to cook for awhile.) Remove pork chops to a plate.
For thick-cut chops: I put the whole cast-iron pan in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Then you can do the next step in a separate pan while the chops finish cooking through.
In the same hot pan with all the leftover pork chop goodness, add quite a bit of butter (I would say one tablespoon for each pork chop). As it melts, add the apples and sage. This should all cook together into a nice caramel color in about 3 - 5 minutes. Pour this magic over the pork chops and enjoy how fantastic your entire house smells.
I try to serve each entree with whatever two vegetables I have on hand. This day, spinach and tomatoes happen to be the winner-winners. Feel free to serve with whatever your heart desires. I sautéed spinach (stir in a hot pan with butter for 4 minutes) and sliced tomatoes. I prepared both of these as the apples/sage were cooking in the butter.
And here is "the goose" gnawing on a pork chop. We are classy.