When I created this pan to oven baked pork chop recipe, I was celebrating something special. Here in the Bay Area we’re lucky enough to have dozens of farm-fresh CSA boxes to choose from, but recently a group of pork ranchers and foodie organizations banded together to bring us a bi-monthly pork CSA program. The CSA provides some of the best meat I’ve ever eaten – organic, free-range, locally-raised pork from a handful of different heritage breeds (Berkshires, Ossabaws, and Mangalitsas, in case you’re interested).
To show my appreciation for these pigs and the folks who put so much time and energy into raising them, I decided to cook them simply and let their brilliant flavor and texture speak for themself. I put this recipe together based on a method I adapted from the Grand Poobah of meat: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. My love for his River Cottage Meat Book is no secret (check my loving cookbook review), and I can’t recommend it enough. If you love meat, go and get it. Now. I’ll wait till you get back.
And in case you’re wondering how long you should cook your pork chops for, here’s a great post on pork chop cooking times.
- 4 fresh, thick pork chops
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large whole head of garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 cup dry white wine (I use Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped fine
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Lightly salt and pepper your chops on both sides and set aside.
- Pop all of the little cloves out of your head of garlic. Don’t peel them – leaving the peel on will protect them from burning and will roast them to a perfect consistency while the chops cook. Instead, crush them gently with the side of a heavy knife.
- In a Dutch oven or other stove-to-oven-proof skillet that won’t react to alcohol (sorry – your cast iron is out, unless it’s enameled), heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat and toss in the whole, crushed garlic cloves. Fry for three minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl.
- Place chops in the pan and brown for one minute per side, then pull them out with a pair of tongs and set aside on a plate.
- Reduce heat to medium and add wine to pan. Use a spatula to deglaze and get up all the savory little bits on the bottom. Simmer until the wine reduces by half.
- Add the chops back into the pan, allowing the boney ends to stick up and out of the wine so that they get nice and crispy. Ideally the ends will stick out of the pan, but if you’re using a tall Dutch oven, just make sure they’re a few inches above the liquid.
- Sprinkle cooked garlic (still in the paper peel) and chopped rosemary over the top of the chops and put the pan in the oven. Cook until the chops reach an internal temperature of 145°F, about 15-20 minutes, basting with pan juices halfway through. Cooking time depends on how thick your chops are. If you’re using a digital meat thermometer, insert the probe and set the beeper-thingie* to
- Once the meat has reached the proper temperature, remove from the oven and cover the main meaty parts with foil, leaving the [hopefully] crispy ends poking out where they won’t get soggy. Allow to rest for ten minutes.
- Serve each chop topped with a few whole cloves of garlic, some colcannon mashed potatoes and a salad. Drizzle absolutely everything with the juices from the pan – this stuff is liquid love!
- *The USDA recently lowered their advisory for safe pork cooking temperatures to 145°F, so that means more tender pork for all of us!
*Sometimes the word “thingie” just works best.