Pork Chops Braised with Arugula.
There are no words to describe how much I love these pork chops.
Tender and delicious with a light but highly flavorful broth and little side of wilted arugula, these chops look and taste like fancy restaurant fare. So you might be surprised to learn that you can have them on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Who wouldn’t want to come home on a weeknight and know that you can make something this tasty in less time than it takes to order a pizza.
Let’s get right to it. Here’s what you need:
Thick center cut bone-in pork chops, Arugula*, Shallots, Anchovies, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil, Butter, Salt & Pepper.
*This recipe is best with regular, full sized arugula not the baby kind you see pictured here. Regular arugula is about the size of a spinach leaf, peppery, and wonderful. If only I’d had this recipe when my neighbor Mike brought me a whole shopping bag of arugula from his garden, I would have been in heaven. HOWEVER, if you can’t find the bigger variety of arugula, you can get by with twice as much baby arugula.
Season 2 center cut, bone-in, thick (about 1 1/2 inches) pork chops on both sides with salt & pepper. Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the chops and brown 2-3 minutes per side without moving the chops in the pan.
The key to getting a really nice browned crust on the chops is not fiddling with the chops or scooting them around in the pan. Put them in the oil and let them cook without touching them and you’ll find that they not only brown better, but they don’t stick to the pan.
While the chops brown, finely chop 1 medium shallot (about 2 Tablespoons) and 3 anchovy fillets.
If you are currently thinking “anchovies…ewww, gross…I think I’ll leave them out”, I BEG you to reconsider. Cooking with anchovies is completely different from eating them on salads or pizzas. Cooked anchovies add a huge and unique flavor base to sauce that you just can’t get with any other ingredient. I PROMISE that they will completely dissolve and you will not have even the remotest hint of fishiness. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if you just can’t get over the anchovy thing, you probably should make a different recipe.
UPDATE: It occurs to me that you can avoid the tins of little oily fish by using anchovy paste. It comes in a tube like toothpaste (yum! the cats would definitely figure out how to brush their teeth given anchovy paste), and can be found in my store in the section near the Italian foods. That way you get all the anchovy flavor (use about 1-2 Tablespoons), without the anchovy mess. Pick up a tube of tomato paste while you’re there.
When the chops have browned, remove them to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Reduce the heat in the pan to medium, add 2 Tablespoons of butter, and saute the chopped shallots and anchovies quickly – about 1 minute.
Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and scrape up any browned bit from the bottom of the pan.
Add the arugula (5 ounces of regular or 10 ounces of baby) and nestle the pork chops right on top.
Note: I am an arugula lover so the next time I make these, I will probably double the amount of arugula regardless of the size of the leaves. Like spinach, it really shrinks up when it cooks.
Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and braise the chops for 15 – 20 minutes until tender and cooked through.
Put some of the wilted arugula on the plate, top it with a pork chop, and drizzle the lovely light broth over the top.
This is another recipe from Melissa Clark’s fabulous cookbook “Cook This Now”. So far everything I’ve made from this book has been incredibly delicious. I served this with a barley side dish (recipe coming soon) from the same book but rice, couscous or mashed potatoes would be great options as well.
Here’s the recipe:
P.S. Take those leftover anchovies and make yourself an amazing Caesar Salad.