By Cat, Nov 2007 (Image, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
I don’t eat a lot of pork, but when I do, chops are my favorite. To avoid problems with commercial pork (see below), I always buy cuts from hogs raised locally, preferably by 4-H kids.
I do not recommend the use of national brands of pork. Commercial hogs are raised in pens and not allowed to roam. Their conditions are filthy and inhumane; consequently, the meat is filthy and highly contaminated with undesirable bacteria, viruses and parasites. Additionally, these hogs are fed a grain-based feed laced with antibiotics and GMO grains.
Instead, please seek out a local hog farmer who raises his hogs in pasture, and keeps them clean and healthy. Cook thoroughly, using a meat thermometer to gauge internal temperature of the meat:
- Chops, ribs, and chops to internal temperature of 145°F;
- Ground pork and sausage to internal temperature of 160°F.
Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with White Balsamic Sauce, Roasted Potatoes & Peas
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking (1). The original uses boneless chops, but I prefer bone-in because the bone adds nutrients to the final dish.
The original serves 4 but I’ve halved the recipe to serve 2.
Ingredients & Equipment:
- 2 bone-in, ½-inch thick pork chops (about 1 lb)
- 1 Tbsp lard or coconut oil
- Unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
- Potatoes & Peas
- 2 slices thick-cut bacon
- ½ lb small-medium yellow fin potatoes. Scrub but do not peel; cut in half if small or quarters if medium-size.
- 4 oz cipolline onions, or 4 oz thawed frozen pearl onions
- ½ cup fresh, or thawed frozen peas
- ¼ tsp minced fresh thyme (or ⅛ tsp dried thyme)
- unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- reserved marinade
- 1 ½ Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces
- shallow bowl or small baking dish
- cast iron or other heavy, oven-proof skillet (for potatoes)
- cast iron skillet (for chops)
- Prep chops: Brine the chops, if desired, for 12-24 hours. Rinse and drain. NOTE: if you do brine, you will need less salt in the marinade.
- Prepare marinade: Mince rosemary. Mince the garlic, press to a paste with ⅛ tsp salt. Add herbs and pepper flakes to oil and vinegar in shallow dish.
- Add pork, turn to coat, cover & leave at room temperature for 20 minutes, turning once
- Potatoes & Peas: Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Cut bacon crosswise to ¼” strips, add to skillet with 1 Tbsp water and set over medium-high heat. When water evaporates stir constantly until bacon is crisp, about 6 minutes. Transfer to paper-towel to drain; reserve fat in skillet.
- Reheat reserved bacon fat over medium heat. Add un-peeled potatoes in a single layer and cook for 1 minute. Stir once, then add onions & bacon. Cook 1 minute more. Stir to coat onions with fat, then season with ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper.
- Transfer skillet to oven and roast until potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
- Stir in peas and thyme to heat through. Adjust seasoning; keep warm.
- Cook Pork: Remove chops from marinade and reserve marinade for the sauce. Wipe marinade off chops and pat dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt & pepper on both sides. NOTE: if you brined the chops, do not season with salt.
- Heat 1 Tbsp lard in skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add chops in single layer and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and slightly firm to the touch, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer meat to platter, cover and keep warm. Discard oil in skillet.
- Sauce: Add reserved marinade and bring to boil over medium-high heat, scraping browned bits from pan. Boil for 1 minutes. Lower heat to low and whisk in butter. When melted, remove skillet from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper, the pour sauce over pork. Serve with the potatoes and peas.
7/13/15: Made half recipe using 1 bone-in chop, not brined. For marinade, used½ tsp rosemary, 1 garlic, ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes, and 1 T ea olive oil and balsamic vinegar (regular, because I didn’t have any white balsamic). Added chop and turned it over in marinade at 3:30 PM, then into fridge; out to warm on counter at 6 PM. For potatoes/peas, used 1 med yellow fin, quartered, 2 oz pearl onions, 1 strip bacon, ⅛ tsp thyme. Roasted in oven. For sauce, used 1 Tbsp butter with marinade. Result: Recipe sounds a bit fussy but is really easy. Delicious and full of interesting flavors that combine well. I served it with braised brussels sprouts and cooked beet. I only ate half the potato, so saved the other half to have with another meal.
- Fine Cooking recipe: finecooking.com/recipes/white-balsamic-pork-chops-roasted-potatoes-peas.aspx