Friday, November 25, 2016

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Meyer Lemon

It's the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., and hopefully you've got some good soup stock simmering on the stove, made with the leftover carcass from all that turkey you gobbled down yesterday. 

 This recipe, from Domenica Marchetti's "Rustic Italian" cookbook, is just the antidote for turkey overload.

These garlicky-lemony pork chops are so succulent, you'll be tempted to gnaw the bones down to the last morsel -- not to mention swiping and swishing some crusty bread through that luscious sauce in the pan. I can't blame you since that's just what we did.

Start by sautéing thinly sliced garlic and fresh bay leaves (or dried) in olive oil.

Remove them and set aside, then brown some lemon slices in the oil. Then remove the lemon slices while you put in the pork chops.

Season and brown the pork chops, then put the garlic, lemon and bay leaves back in. Add a splash of white wine and lemon juice and cook until done.

A lot of people complain that pork chops are too dry, but that's mostly because they're cooked too long. Cook just until the meat feels springy, and there's some "give" to the meat.

Here's another way to test doneness. Make a fist. The pork chop should sort of feel like the piece of flesh at the base of the thumb where it attaches to your hand (before the thumb reaches the wrist).

 If the pork chop is a teensy bit pink, it's ok.

Don't cook it too long, or you'll be eating a hard, overcooked piece of meat.

The herbal and lemon flavors blend so well in this recipe, and it was so easy and quick to make, I'll be coming back to this one again and again. Thanks Domenica.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Meyer Lemon

(Costole di Maiale in Padella)

From Domenica Marchetti's "Rustic Italian" cookbook

printable recipe here

2 T. extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

4 fresh bay leaves, or 6 dried bay leaves

2 Meyer lemons, 1 thinly sliced and 1 halved

4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops, 6-8 oz. each

(I used 2 very thick pork chops that weighed 1.5 lbs. total)

1/2 cup dry white wine 

fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat the olive oil, garlic and bay leaves over medium-low heat. Sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and the oil is infused with the aroma of garlic and bay leaf, about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic and bay leaves to a plate and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add the lemon slices. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the garlic and bay leaves.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Arrange in the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Sear until nicely browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Turn the chops and cook until browned on the other side, 2-3 minutes longer. Since my two pork chops were very thick, I decided to add some white wine at this point to Domenica's recipe to help them cook more quickly. Let the wine boil down for a minute. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chops and turn to coat them with the juice. Return the garlic, bay leaves and lemon slices to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook (with a lid, if the chops are very thick, as mine were) until the chops are cooked through - 3-4 minutes longer. The pork chop should spring back but still feel tender if gently pressed with a finger, and the center should be very slightly pink.

Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter and spoon the pan juices, along with the lemon slices, over the top. Serve right away.

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