I'm sure everyone has their pork chop recipe, since it's a great cut for weeknight dinners—it takes well to quick-cooking and the directions for possible sauces are endless. Bourbon teriyaki, soy-and-honey, fennel seeds with sage and rosemary, cherry barbecue—just a few that have been posted on Serious Eats. It's such a great pan-frying cut, in fact, that it's the featured recipe in that section in Alice Water's marvelous Art of Simple Food. She gives some coaching advice on the cooking technique, then offers up a number of variations, from pressing herbs onto the chops before frying to topping with gremolata, a mixture of chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon zest.
The one that caught my eye, though, was the flavored butter route—sage butter, rosemary butter, fennel butter, black pepper butter...and chili butter. I had a ziploc in the freezer with the leftovers from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce, and quickly put them to good use. The idea is to get the chops very well-salted and peppered, then sear them until almost crunchy in a hot skillet; the chipotle butter then becomes a luxurious softness over everything. Hopefully your inside will be moist and juicy as well—make sure the chop isn't too thick to achieve this, or sear both sides and throw the (oven-safe) skillet in a 375°F oven. And to make sure none of that wonderful pan crustiness from the frying went to waste; I splashed some water in while the chops rested, reduced, then wilted some greens in there. Marvelous.
- 4 pork chops, 1/2 inch thick
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1-2 chipotle chilis in adobo, with sauce to taste
Cook, without moving, 4-5 minutes or until well-browned. Flip, and cook until done, depending on thickness. Alternatively, sear the other side and finish in a 375 degree oven.
Meanwhile, chop the chilis and add to softened butter in a small bowl, mixing well. Add adobo sauce to taste for spiciness. Season with salt.
Let chops rest 4 minutes after cooking to ensure juiciness. Top with a bit of butter and serve.