When I was growing up, we ate a lot of pork chops. They were a weekly feature at the Sanagan household, and there was really only one way of cooking them. My parents used to get center-cut pork chops and spread them out in a casserole. Then, open and pour a can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup on the chops, spreading that love out all over, before baking in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes or until they were coooooooooooked. They were actually pretty good, now that I think back. However, I’ve learned a thing or two over the last twenty years and now cook my pork chops a little differently.
Pork Chops with Blood Orange Sauce
4 pieces center cut pork chops
to taste salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3 stems fresh thyme
1 blood orange, segmented*
3 tbsp sherry vinegar
6 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp cold butter
* Segmenting an orange is one of the first things they teach you in culinary school to practice your knife skills. Basically, you peel an orange using a knife – slice the top and bottom off to expose the meat, then using a “turning” motion strip away the peel, exposing only the meat of the fruit. Once the fruit is fully naked, carefully cut in between each citrus membrane to loosen the segments and they should pop out. If you don’t want to do all this, just peel the orange, break up the segments, and cut each in half. It’s just a little extra fiber anyways, which is only a good thing, right?
Place a large pan on a medium-high heat.
Season the pork chops liberally with salt and pepper. Drizzle the oil onto the chops. Place the chops in the pan and sear until golden brown on one side. Add the thyme to cook at the same time as the chops.
Flip the chops and repeat, searing until golden brown. Remove the chops and set on a platter to rest. Leave the thyme in the pan.
Turn the heat down to a medium heat under the same pan. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and reduce by half before adding the orange juice. Reduce the liquid by another half before adding the cold butter and the orange segments. Swirl the butter to emulsify with the juice, then pour the whole mixture over the platter of chops and serve.
It may not be mushroom soup, but I swear this is a tasty way to cook those chops!