I used to be super intimidated when it came to cooking meat.
Which cut should I buy?
How do you cook it?
How do I know I’ve seasoned it enough if I can’t taste it until it’s cooked?
It just seemed complicated.
Then, a few years back, we did our first cow share. We had a freezer packed with grass-fed beef and because you buy the whole animal, I had just about every cut imaginable in there (though, mostly roasts and stew meat (and some organs) because… hello, it’s the whole animal!
By necessity, I had to learn to cook a whole bunch of different cuts. What I learned from all this was simple:
- “nice” cuts of meat that are fork-tender do best with quick cooking on relatively high-heat (a nice brown sear to lock in the juices)
- tough cuts of meat are best in the slow cooker (or Instant Pot)
This year, we did a pig share from a local farm (pasture-raised, of course), and when I dug out the first package of pork chops from the freezer, I knew I wanted to do it justice.
It’s a lot different when you buy a half or a whole animal.
At the grocery store, pork chops are just another commodity. For us, pork chops are a special treat.
This recipe for rosemary pork chops uses bone-in rib chops, but any type of pork chop would work. You’d need to adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the chop and whether it has a bone. Thin chops with no bone cook a lot quicker.
Many recipes for pork chops call for dredging in flour, but since I don’t eat wheat and prefer a diet with limited amounts of grains in general, I opted for no breading whatsoever. To get a nice crisp brown without the flour, use a paper towel to pat the chops dry, want to make sure your pan is hot before adding them, and don’t turn the meat too early. Simple enough, right?
Pork is often served with applesauce, but I’ve never been a fan of it with a savory meal (perhaps it’s a texture thing?). Pan-seared apple slices, however, are a whole different story. If you want to turn this into a full meal, definitely take the extra few minutes to saute some apples and kale! The pan’s already hot and needs to be washed anyways!
Rosemary Pork Chops (with Sauteed Kale and Apples)
- 4 pork chops, roughly ¾ in thick (bone-in rib chops)
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish chopped (or 2 tsp dried rosemary)
- 2 Tbsp+ ghee or lard for cooking
- 2 apples, cored and sliced
- Several large handfuls baby kale, or other leafy green
In a large glass dish, such as a lasagna pan, combine olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. Stir to combine. Add the pork chops to the marinade, turn several times so both sides are seasoned. Place in refrigerator for 30+ minutes to marinate.
Remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat them dry. (Discard the marinade.) Let the pork chops come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat 2 tablespoons ghee or lard in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork. You should hear them immediately begin to sizzle. Pan fry until browned on the outside and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. When done, the pork should be firm but not hard. (You can always cut into one to see if it’s done to your liking - and remember that carry-over cooking will happen as you prepare the apples and kale.) Remove chops from pan and set aside (cover to keep warm) while you saute the kale and apples.
Turn this into a full meal by serving with sauteed kale and apples. I like to use one skillet to make the whole meal. Once you remove the pork chops from the pan, add a little more ghee followed by the sliced apples (from 2 apples). Turn once, so they brown evenly on both sides. Remove apples from pan, then cook your greens (I used baby kale).
Simply add the greens to the pan followed by a sprinkle of salt and 1 Tbsp water. Immediately cover with the lid to steam. After 1-2 minutes, remove the lid, stir the greens (scrape up as much yummy pork drippings as you can) and serve. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs.
There you have it: perfectly cooked Rosemary Pork Chops. Another one pan wonder for the books.
Consider making these succulent rosemary pork chops (with sauteed kale and apples) the next time you have company over for dinner. It’s perfect for a fancy night in.
If you give this recipe a shot, stop back and tell me about it in the comments below!
Until next week,
PS – Not a fan of kale? Try serving rosemary pork chops with Roasted Purple Cabbage or Green Beans w/ Macadamia Nuts and Thyme. Or try one of the many tasty veggie recipes in my free ebook, “Veggies: Eat Them Because You Want To, Not Because You Have To.” Grab your free copy here.