Pork chops seared and braised on the stovetop in white wine and herbs. Simple enough for a weeknight, but sophisticated enough for any occasion.
This recipe was featured in How I Am Trying to Forgive Myself and Clean Out My Fridge (Sort Of) in my occasional blog Random Acts of Deliciousness.
2 Tablespoons olive oil (divided)
4-6 pork boneless pork chops, at least 1-inch thick, patted dry
Coarse salt and ground black pepper
1/2 a medium yellow onion, diced small
1 fat garlic clove (or 2 smaller ones), minced
A generous handful of fresh thyme and/or parsley sprigs (see notes)
1/2 cup dry white wine (see notes)
A few sprigs of fresh basil (see notes)
1. Generously sprinkle the tops of all the pork chops with salt and pepper. Set a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of the oil and heat until very hot and shimmering, but not smoking.
2. Lay the pork chops in the hot oil, seasoned side down, and generously sprinkle the exposed side with more salt and pepper. After about a minute or two, turn the pork chops to brown the other side. After about another minute, transfer the chops to a large plate or platter to rest. They should be browned on both sides, but are not cooked through at this point. NOTE: depending on the size of your skillet and number/size of your pork chops, you might have to brown them in batches. (If the pan is too crowded, they'll steam rather than browning.)
3. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the second Tablespoon of oil to the pan, followed by the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and somewhat golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir just until fragrant, about a minute or less.
4. Add the wine to the pan and turn the heat to high. Scrape the pan with a wooden spatula as the wine boils and the browned bits are released from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half and the raw alcohol smell has dissipated, about 2-3 minutes.
5. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the pork chops back to the pan, turning them briefly in the sauce. Add the thyme/parsley sprigs, with some on top of the chops and some in the sauce. Put the lid on and cook for about 8-10 minutes, turning the chops halfway through, and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the gentlest of simmers (to keep your pork chops from drying out).
6. Test the chops for doneness either with an instant-read thermometer (145 degrees Fahrenheit) or by removing one to a cutting board and cutting into it - it should be a very faint pink. If needed, cook for another 2-4 minutes with the lid on, then test again. If the sauce seems to be drying out (unlikely), add a splash of water.
7. Transfer the chops to a serving platter. Use tongs to remove any unappealing-looking herb sprigs from the sauce, then pour it over the pork chops. Sprinkle fresh basil leaves on top of the chops and serve.
I used sauvignon blanc to make this and it was delicious. If you're not sure what kind of wine to use, you can always use the Julia Child trick of substituting dry French vermouth. I keep a bottle of Noilly Prat in the fridge for exactly this purpose and it's always perfect.
I used the herbs listed because it's what I had on hand, but if you're making this in the dead of winter and want something seasonal, you could use dried thyme and parsley instead of fresh and skip the basil. Sage (fresh or dried) or rosemary (I prefer fresh) would also be great. I'd use a couple pinches of the dried herbs. If you're using fresh sage or rosemary it can be quite potent, so just use one or two sprigs of either.