“... food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.” -E.A Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
I cook really fresh, mostly very simple food as a matter of habit. It is my very favorite way to cook and eat -simple and fresh all the way. However, every once in a while I like the meal to have a little wow factor, to elicit that feeling that we are maybe out at a nice restaurant instead of sitting around our kitchen table. So if you want to play Top Chef and really impress your family or friends, here is a simple, yet incredibly delicious pork recipe which will leave everyone feeling spoiled and licking their plates. It does require very minimal night before prep for best results, so plan accordingly. A simple pan sauce is whipped up at the last minute which takes this dish over the top. It is the perfect celebration meal for this festive time of year.Let's get cooking!
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Thyme and Cran-Apple Pan Sauce
4-6 Boneless Center Cut Pork Loin chops, 1-1 1/4" thick
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Coarse ground black pepper
4-5 sprigs, fresh thyme, leaves removed, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup fresh apple cider or apple juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup diced Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
1. The night before, pat the pork chops dry. Mix kosher salt and brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of chops liberally with the salt/ sugar mixture. Pat it in place. Discard any remaining salt/sugar mixture. Place pork chops on a rack over a sheet pan and refrigerate, uncovered for 24 hours.
2. Remove pork from fridge and set out for 20 minutes before cooking. In the meantime preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and gather the rest of the ingredients.
3. with a paper towel pat dry any spots of moisture from chops. Sprinkle coarse ground black pepper over both sides of chops. Sprinkle thyme leaves over both sides of chops, pressing to adhere.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of avocado or coconut oil in a large, heavy duty, oven-proof skillet just over medium-high heat. When oil/butter mixture is sizzling and bubbly add chops. Cook until bottom side is nicely golden. Flip.
5. Cook chops one more minute on stove-top. Transfer skillet to hot oven and allow to cook another 7-10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
6. Carfeully remove hot pan from oven, place a towel or oven mitt over the handle to remind you it's hot! Transfer chops to a platter and tent with foil while you prepare the sauce.
8. Pour out all but 1 tablespoon of fat from skillet and place over medium heat. Saute shallots in pan until wilted, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
9. Increase heat to medium high and add in apple cider vinegar, broth and apple cider/juice . Cook , stirring to scrape up all the yummy brown bits stuck to the bottom of pan, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook 2 -3 minutes until liquid is somewhat reduced.
10. Stir in cranberry sauce, Dijon mustard and apple bits and continue cooking until sauce is thickened and somewhat syrupy, stirring occasionally.
11. Immediately pour pan sauce over chops on platter and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves. (I used parsley here because I didn't have any beautiful thyme sprigs left. There is no right way to garnish it, but the thyme leaves to speak to what's in the dish) Serve with buttered noodles or garlic mashed potatoes and steamed green beans. Serves 4-6
12. Sit back and listen to your diners swoon with delight. ♥ Happy Holidays!