Go-to Pork Chops

I recently read a recommendation in Bon Appetit that every host should have a house cocktail recipe memorized that can be swung and served on a moment’s notice. I tend to think the same is true about a classy, quick, company-worthy main.

Every single girl needs a recipe in her back pocket, and this is mine.

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It took me a long time to embrace pork chops. I don’t recall eating much of them growing up, but me somehow inspired visions of over-salted, dry meat slathered in Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup. This isn’t fair, but I imagine you might have some of the same misconceptions. This recipe will change that. Searing the chops first gives them a nice, crispy exterior, while finishing them in the oven seals in the juices. The result is a restaurant-quality main that can shine amongst a range of sides, from frozen rolls and a hastily assembled side salad to risotto. Last time I made this recipe I paired it with this lovely fall-tosh salad from Smitten Kitchen and enjoyed it with some red wine and my best friend.

I’m partial to boneless pork loin chops, but you could use bone-in if you would rather. This recipe cooks up quickly, so be ready to serve when you get started. Also, you will want both your skillet and your oven nice and hot. I tend to rush these things, so I generally force myself to take a few extra moments before starting.

The recipe here serves two, but it can easily be scaled down for one if you want to treat yo’self (pro tip: just cook less meat).

2 boneless, skinless pork loin chops
2 teaspoons mustard
Few sprigs of fresh thyme, or another herb of choice (coriander seed is nice this time of year)
One garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 and set your skillet to the high side of medium-high but not high enough to smoke oil.

Pat the chops dry with a paper towel. Season both sides generously with garlic, salt, and pepper. Spread the mustard lightly on one side.

Swirl about a teaspoon of oil in the preheated skillet. Place the pork chops, mustard side down in the skillet. Gently press the thyme or other herb into the top of the chops.  Cook both sides of the pork for about 3 minutes. The sides should be seared, but the interior still raw.

Immediately put the skillet and chops in the preheated oven. Bake at 400 for about 7 minutes, or until the chops are cooked fully. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy with someone you love (and ignore the fact that you don’t have steak knives).

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