A few weeks ago, I made a commitment to actually using the cooking the magazines I currently subscribe to (Cook’s Illustrated and Bon Appetit) and singled out a few recipes to test out. I am very proud to say that I stuck to my plan and didn’t get distracted by random produce in the grocery stores :-) I decided to start with this recipe from the February issue of Bon Appetit because not only did it turn out amazing, it was also very easy to make and you can marinate the pork in advance to save some prep time. Unfortunately, this recipe also gave me the most painful cooking injury ever so I had to wait a bit before being able to look at the pictures without cringing from the painful memory. For the love of God, do not, under any circumstances, grab the handle of the cast iron pan after removing it from the 450F degree oven! I ended up spending 6 hours with my hand in an ice water bath and fell asleep with my palm on an ice packet! Miraculously, there were not blisters the next day so I got really lucky this time.
Recipe notes: the pork chops I found at the store were the thin kind, but you can also use thicker bone-in ones (~1″). I marinated 5 for two dinners for two. I didn’t really taste a difference between the chops marinated for 1 hr and the ones marinated overnight.
Ingredients (serves 2):
- marinade for the 5 chops: 2 Tb fennel seeds, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, salt, pepper, 3 Tb oil
- 1 Tb oil
- 2 pork thin chops (or 1 big bone-in chop)
- 1/2 – 3/4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
- 1 large shallot, cut into 8ths
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- 2 tsps red wine vinegar
Toast fennel seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and starting to pop a bit (a few minutes). Stir or shake skillet often not to burn them. Prepare marinade by mixing the toasted fennel seeds with the oil, garlic, paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub pork chops with the spice mix. You can marinate them in a ziploc bag, but I just placed them on a plate that I covered with plastic wrap. Let marinate for 30 min – overnight in the fridge.
Remove chops from the fridge. Preheat oven to 450 F. Heat oil in an ovenproof (cast-iron) skillet over medium heat. Cook pork chops until browned on one side (2 -4 min). Turn pork chops and add potatoes and shallots to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and stir.
Cook until pork is browned on the second side and the internal temperature reaches 135F (2-4 minutes). Remove pork from the skillet. Place skillet in the oven and cook until potatoes are tender (~15 minutes). Remove skillet from the oven, add back the pork chops (juices too), and mix in the parsley and vinegar. Serve with a nice glass of red wine ;-)
Bon Appetit delivered yet again a great “fast, easy, fresh” dish! Don’t be fooled by appearances, this is no ordinary meat and potatoes dinner, but a very flavorful dish that I will be definitely making again, even despite the traumatic injury.