Today’s post has been on my mind since I first made the Peach Mostarda last year. The first thing I thought when I tried it was that it would be fabulous on pork chops… but it’s taken me until now to actually do so. The point of today’s post is actually pan sauces, which is a wonderful but basic technique. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I LOVE sauce. I often order extra sauce anywhere from bbq places to chinese, and this recipe is all about the sauce.
First, a little about pan sauces. The basic technique is to take a pan where you cooked meat, and use all the browned bits left (called ‘fond’), sautee some aromatics (garlic, shallots, ginger, onion, etc), then add a liquid (stock, wine, hard liquor, vinegar) and simmer it down for a few minutes while scraping all the fond off of the pan (called ‘deglazing), and finally finish with an accent flavor (such as mustard, jam, herbs, or capers) and some cold butter to enrich and thicken the sauce. You can leave the butter out if you’re trying to be healthier, but a little goes a long way here. The possibilities here are endless. It only takes a few minutes, done while your meat is resting from cooking (an essential step), and really adds an extra layer of flavor to your meal. Plus, sauce! Yum!
So, start by preheating an oven to 425°F, then heat butter or another high-smoke point fat in the pan over medium-high heat until it foams (for butter, anyway). This ensures that the pan is hot enough to properly sear your pork chops.
Add the pork chops and brown on both sides, for a few minutes on each side. When you go to flip them, they shouldn’t stick to the pan. If they do, leave them… they’re not done yet.
When both sides have been browned, move the pork chops in the pan (make sure your pan is oven-safe!) to the oven to finish cooking, until the internal temperature is 145°F for medium. For thin pork chops (half to 3/4 inch thick) this should take 4-6 minutes, for inch thick pork chops it should take about 8 minutes, if they’re really thick they could take 10-12.
When the pork chops are done, remove them to a plate and tent with foil to rest. This allows their juices to move from the surface, where they gather during cooking, back into the meat so it remains moist instead of all the liquid running out when you cut into it. The foil, of course, helps keep the meat warm while this happens (and while you make the pan sauce, finish up side dishes, etc). The edge is up here for photographic purposes, but you’ll want to wrap it all the way around the plate to keep heat in.
Now for the pan sauce. If there’s enough fat still in the pan, just put it over medium-low heat until it’s hot again (or maybe it still is, depending on how quickly you tented your pork chops). If the pan is dry, add more butter, olive oil, whatever. Then add the shallots and cook until they start to brown, two to three minutes. Add the garlic, and cook another minute. There’s no photo of this because… well, I forgot.
Next, add the borbon (you can turn off the heat to be safe, because it’s quite flammable, but as long as you’re not pouring straight from the bottle and your flame is low, you should be fine), increase the heat to medium to aid simmering, and scrape the bottom of the pan while it simmers. You want it to reduce by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the peach mostarda, or just peach jam if you don’t have any, and cook until a thick sauce, another two or three minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low and finish with cold butter. Make sure to cut the butter into small pieces so they melt fast, it should take thirty seconds to a minute.
Plate your pork chops and top with the sauce. If your pork chops have cooled off too much, you can add them back into the pan on medium low with the sauce until warm through.
Pork Chops with Borbon-Peach Mostarda Pan Sauce
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 cup peach mostarda, or peach jam
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat a cast-iron or heavy oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, then 1 tablespoon of butter and wait until it foams. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, and place in the pan. Cook until browned on both sides, making sure not to flip until the chop releases easily from the pan, about 2-3 minutes per side.
2. Transfer pork chops in skillet to the oven, continuing to cook until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, 6-8 minutes unless very thick or thin.
3. Remove pork chops to a plate and tent with foil. Return pan to stove on medium-low heat, add more butter or oil if needed, and sautee shallots until browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
4. Deglaze pan with bourbon, increase heat to medium, and simmer until liquid has been reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add mostarda or jam and cook until a thick sauce, 2-3 more minutes. Turn heat to medium-low, and finish with remaining 1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut into a few pieces to aid melting.
5. If pork chops have cooled too much, return to pan and cook until warmed through. If not, plate and top with sauce.