The air is getting cold in the mornings here in Winter Park and the sun is starting to go behind the hills a little earlier. That means it is time to bring the food indoors and pan searing is the way to go with a good pork chop.
When it comes to pork, a little fat is good. Why eat pork that has been bred to be so lean that it lacks flavor and can be tough when cooked? Good pork from heritage producers and small farms is increasingly available, so seek it out for these pan-seared chops. For this recipe we used double-cut bone in pork chops from Whole Foods and they were delicious.
In a large cast-iron or other heavy-bottomed fry pan over medium-low heat, combine the olive oil, garlic and bay leaves. Sauté until the garlic is lightly golden and the oil is infused with the aroma of garlic and bay leaf, about 5 minutes. Transfer the garlic and bay leaves to a plate; set aside.
Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the lemon slices. Cook, turning once, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the plate with the garlic and bay leaves.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Arrange the chops in the pan and increase the heat to medium-high. Sear until nicely browned underneath, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the chops over and cook until browned on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes more. Squeeze the lemon halves over the chops and turn to coat them with the juice.
Return the garlic, bay leaves and lemon slices to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the chops are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more. They should spring back but still feel tender when gently pressed with a finger, and the center should be very slightly pink.
Transfer the pork chops to a platter and spoon the pan juices, along with the lemon slices, over the top. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Check out all the Winter Park Recipes of the Month.
Sarah September 24th, 2012