Simple Pork Chops with Spinach Salad and Crispy Onions

Today we're sharing a simple preparation for pork chops and a small confession: we have trouble cooking pork chops to perfection. There are too many variabilities! Bone-in, boneless, thin cut, thick cut -- oh, the options! And because of this we primarily prefer to cook pork tenderloins or porkloafs over the questionable pork chops. We've never given up on pork chops though and have shared quite a few recipes on the blog (ranch style, lowcountry smothered style, dijon style, and my mom's pork chop casserole). From our experience we've decided that bone-in thick pork chops work best for us because it's harder for us to overcook them.

Determined not to let pork chops fool us forever I bought them again a few weeks ago. I found a simple brine solution to prep them with and the rest is history! Below is the recipe and details for crispy onions that we topped our salad with!

Simple Pork Chops
from and "Hot to Cook Tender & Juicy Pork Chops in the Oven"

   For the brine
3 cups cold water, divided
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt (or 2 1/2 tablespoons table salt)
Optional flavorings: 2 smashed garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf
   For the pork chops
2 to 4 pork chops — center cut, bone-on, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick (about 1 pound each)
Olive oil

   Brine the pork chops: If you have time, brining the pork for even a brief period adds flavor and ensures juiciness in the finished chop. Bring 1 cup of the water to a boil, add the salt and optional flavorings, and stir to dissolve the salt. Add 2 more cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down to room temperature. Place the pork chops in a shallow dish and pour the brine over top. The brine should cover the chops — if not, add additional water and salt (1 cup water to 1 tablespoon salt) until the chops are submerged. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
   Heat the oven and skillet: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Place the skillet in the oven to preheat as well.
   Season the pork chops: While the oven heats, prepare the pork chops. Remove the chops from the brine; if you didn't brine, remove the chops from their packaging. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set the chops aside to warm while the oven finishes heating.
   Remove the skillet from the oven: Using oven mitts, carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Turn on a vent fan or open a window.
   Sear the pork chops: Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Sear until the undersides of the chops are seared golden, 3 minutes. The chops may start to smoke a little — that's ok. Turn down the heat if it becomes excessive.
   Flip the chops and transfer to the oven: Use tongs to flip the pork chops to the other side. Immediately transfer the skillet to the oven using oven mitts.
   Roast the chops until cooked through: Roast until the pork chops are cooked through and register 140°F to 145°F in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. Cooking time will be 6 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops, how cool they were at the start of cooking, and whether they were brined. Start checking the chops at 6 minutes and continue checking every minute or two until the chops are cooked through.
   Rest the chops: Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top (or reserve for making a pan sauce or gravy). Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

While the pork chops were resting we assembled our salad: spinach leaves, sliced fresh strawberries, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and topped with crispy onions.
For the crispy onions I cut them into very thin slices then soaked them in buttermilk for 10-15 minutes. In a prep bowl I mixed all purpose flour with a savory maple seasoning (to pair with the pork) and then placed the drained onions into the flour mixture and tossed around until evenly coated. Then the onions went into a small pot with about 1/2" of oil to fry. Once golden promptly remove the onions.

We felt like we finally had a winner with these pork chops! And the crispy onions really made the evening a win-win for dinner!

1 comment:

  1. We usually grill them. But sometimes they turn out better than others.