Since some evenings find me cooking for just myself these days, I’m finding that I’m eating an awful lot of pan-seared pork chops. I mean, a lot of pork chops. I’m smack dab in the middle of at least a two-chop-per-week bender even as we speak.
And why not? They’re dirt cheap, they taste great, and they’re easy enough to prepare while the baby operates the deep fryer stands safely outside the kitchen on the other side of her baby gate watching me cook. Steam up a few vegetables to serve alongside a pork chop, and you almost get to feel like you’re eating a complete meal, even as you’re eating it standing up at the kitchen counter. In fact, a typical solo grocery shopping trip for nights when I’m cooking alone sometimes consists of just a few bone-in pork chops, a big head of broccoli, and few of those giant pickled hot peppers from the supermarket olive bar, that are stuffed with prosciutto and provolone and taste like every flavor you’ve ever tasted all at once.
The only downside to eating pork chops a dozen times a month is that they run the risk of getting a little boring. That’s what’s so exciting about this recipe: It combines two of my current obsessions (pork chops and stuffed pickled peppers) into one tantalizing dish that is spicy, a little bit tart, and produces the perfect pan sauce for thick, succulent chops. Use just hot pickled cherry peppers if you absolutely love heat; most people will probably prefer to use a mix of hot and sweet peppers.
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Pickled Peppers
Adapted from a recipe in Saveur; Serves 2
- 2 (1″-thick) bone-in pork chops
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 12 pickled cherry peppers, mix of spicy and sweet to taste, halved
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 425. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and brown on both sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer pan to hot oven to finish cooking, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer chops to a plate to rest. Meanwhile, return pan to stovetop over medium heat. Add remaining oil, garlic, and hot peppers. Cook unil garlic just begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Raise heat to high, and add wine and stock. Reduce sauce by half, about 3 minutes more. Spoon sauce over pork chops and serve.