Once, at an Italian restaurant called Leonardo’s, Will had a scrumptious double-cut roast pork chop stuffed with Italian sausage. At our one and only meal at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc Restaurant in Napa Valley, the main course of the evening—you don’t get a choice there—was a lovely roasted double-cut pork chop. So when the cover of the January 2013 issue of Bon Appétit featured—you guessed it—a double-cut pork chop, it made menu-making easy for the weekend.
We are a pork-loving family, but we are a little nervous about making sure that pork is cooked all the way through too. (Past practice…) So we experience a bit of anxiety especially when cooking thick cuts of pork lest we dry out our meat in the quest for certainty in the area of done-ness. However, the recipe for “Pan-Roasted Brined Pork Chop” dispelled our fears with a 4-step process: 1) Brine. 2) Pan-sear. 3) Pan-Roast. 4) Butter-baste. Perhaps it seems a bit complicated, but really it was quite simple, and really truly delicious.
Here’s their recipe: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2013/01/pan-roasted-brined-pork-chop
Actually, now that I’ve given you the link to their recipe, I can tell you that I didn’t really follow their steps entirely faithfully. We simply didn’t have enough time to brine the chops for 8-12 hours required! Nor did we have juniper berries (which I thought we had). But no worries. Brining in sugar, salt, black peppercorns, thyme, and garlic worked out just fine.
Yes, I do recommend that you sear every surface of your chop. Even though the recipe suggested browning one side, then the “second side” and then back and forth again, I browned the edge-sides as well (as you can see from the picture below)—any surface that was exposed got a nice browning sear. That sealed in juices so that I knew that the inside would be tender.
Bon Appétit wanted us to flip the chop every 2 minutes while pan-roasting in a 450 degree oven. I switched it to every 3 minutes mostly because the smoke-alarm started getting a bit agitated and we wanted to reduce tension on that front by extending the time between each smoky opening of the oven door.
Foaming up butter along with unpeeled garlic cloves and thyme sprig produced a heavenly aroma. I almost cut short the number of minutes I basted the chop with the flavored butter because it seemed to be getting quite dark, but the chop turned out to be beautifully browned, not too cooked.
One final tip. The recipe doesn’t suggest this, but I cut the chop (after it got its proper rest) and then drizzled the hot foamy butter over the chop so that cut portions also got flavored—and so that we could dip the pieces. That was a delectable addition I am not likely to skip over!