Cast Iron Pork Chops With Tomatoes is a zesty one-pan wonder made with savory ingredients that rival any on-the-border dish out there!
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Cast Iron Pork Chops With Tomatoes
There are a few simple steps to follow to avoid a dried out, tough to chew pork chop.
For starters, buy bone-in and buy from a reputable butcher. Mention that you are looking for a well marbled chop that is at least 1 1/2 to 2-inches thick. Why bone-in? When your skillet sits on the burner, it warms and conducts the heat evenly. The bone in the pork chop works much the same way, conducting heat and cooking the meat without overcooking it. And yes, marbling means fat. Most of this fat just renders out during the cook, but all the while it is providing so much moisture and SO MUCH FLAVOR!
Brine. I use whole milk or buttermilk with seven to ten smashed cloves of garlic added to brine meat. The enzymes in the dairy break down the proteins in the meat, softening the muscle and rendering a very tender end product. A freezer bag works great for this step because I load, seal, and refrigerate for about three hours (no more than 10 hours). Then, I pull the bag from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before cooking. I remove the meat from the bag and allow it to rest atop a baking sheet fitting with a wire rack. Air has an opportunity to circulate on all sides and my meat comes to room temperature quickly.
I also advocate for a brief rest post-cooking. Top each chop with a THIN pat of butter, then tent the meat with foil to keep them hot and allow that butter to melt into the fibers. Allowing the meat to rest prior to cutting into allows the juices within to naturally redistribute throughout making your chop not only moist, but super tender! The butter adds a finishing salt if you will, and flavor beyond words!
Grab your cast iron skillet again because do I have a pork chop recipe for YOU!
Skillet pork chops are among the EASIEST of dinners to prepare because they take so little time. The payout is big though - cast iron skillet seared pork chops that melt in your mouth are kissed with a zesty and creamy tomato pan sauce that rivals any 'on-the-border' dish out there.
The chilies in this method are reminiscent of spicy southwestern fare, but the cream and Bourbon used to balance the tomato coulis is front and center SOUTHERN! Use canned tomatoes with chilies for ease of preparation - no chopping! And go as mild or hot with the tomatoes as you like.
Do You Have What's Needed To Make Cast Iron Skillet Pork Chops? Check The List!
whole milk or buttermilk
fresh garlic cloves
bone-in 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick pork loin center cut chops, well marbled
sweet onion such as Vidalia
canned diced tomatoes and green chilies
fresh thyme leaves
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How This Recipe Came About…
Readers of Not Entirely Average request new and tasty pork and chicken recipes over any other proteins I feature. Lately, I am receiving many more of these types of requests. Presumably, the skyrocketing price of beef has much to do with this.
In keeping with my pledge to present really tasty and super practical recipes on this site, I present to you this wonderful cast iron pork chop recipe. I use canned diced tomatoes with chilies for a brief walk on the wild side, before deglazing with rich Bourbon.
The chilies lend creed to this dish being reminiscent of something southernmost border or southwestern. Deglazing with Bourbon means the pan sugars develop depth of flavor like no other. Sweet. Smoky. Subtle.
The amount of cream is scant but is crucial as it balances the the heat from the chilies and the sugars from the now caramelized Bourbon and tomato juices. The entire flavor profile seems too swanky to simply serve over rice, but I have found that less here is definitely best.
How To Make Thick Cut Pan Seared Cast Iron Pork Chops With Sauce?
I refer to this cast iron pork chops recipe as a one pan wonder because the entire recipe is done via the skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Using my largest cast iron, I sear one side at a time until the chops are golden brown.
How to cook pork chops in a pan is a question I get frequently. Fried pork chops are not cooked completely until their internal temperature reaches 145°F. I do remove them to a plate prior to their temperature being sufficient so I can assemble the pan sauce, but upon return, they simmer to an exquisite finish.
In case you are wondering about the pan sauce, it's a cinch. The amount of heat is up to you. Canned diced tomatoes with chilies added make this easy method even easier because there is no chopping to do.
I opt for a mild can of tomatoes with chilies because my crew can't stand the heat (ha!). If you want to go hotter, purchase hot diced tomatoes with chilies versus mild. My local grocer roasts hatch chilies fresh at this time of year, so that is an option, too if you can get them.
What Can I Substitute For Tomatoes With Chilies If I Don't Want Heat?
Any canned diced tomato will work in this recipe. You needn't purchase with chilies if you know your eaters well enough to know the chilies wont make it past their lips.
Stewed tomatoes would work in this recipe, too. I would chop them up just a bit in the can to avoid pieces too large. Use the tomatoes and everything in the can, juice and all. Reduced, it makes for a sweeter tomato coulis.
How Long Do You Cook A Pork Chop?
It is not necessarily for 'how long to cook pork chops in cast iron skillet,' but rather 'to what temperature must the chops be cooked to.' And if you are somebody who pan fries your pork chops to near shoe leather, stop.
Take a couple of steps to ensure those gorgeous thick cut pork chops you bought turn out juicy and über tender.
- We all love boneless pork chops, but bone-in chops when cooked properly yield a seriously juicy finished chop due to the bone acting as a heat conductor during the cook.
- Brine your chops for two to four hours in whole milk or buttermilk spiked with raw smashed garlic cloves. Enzymes in the dairy alter the attributes of the proteins in the meat rendering it more tender and juicy.
- Bring your meat to room temperature before cooking. Setting it post-brining atop a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack helps airflow on all sides.
- Allow for a five minute "rest" after the meat has been fully cooked. Tent the chops (somewhat tightly) with aluminum foil while you set the table. Those five minutes will allow the juices in the meat to naturally redistribute. Yup, it's true.
What To Serve With Cast Iron Pork Chops With Tomatoes?
Call me bland but I really love this over or alongside rice. The tomato coulis is entirely spectacular and rice allows for that sunny, smoky flavor to come through.
I could also see this, because of the pan sauce, being quite fabulous over fluffy mashed potatoes.
What To Drink With Cast Iron Pork Chops With Tomatoes?
In terms of wine, I prefer to seek out a crisp dry white such as Pinot Grigio or Verdicchio for this recipe. The Bourbon imparts a honey flavor as it evaporates, and that screams total splendor with a nicely decanted Verdicchio.
Cooked tomatoes and tomato sauces also scream for Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or a light Sicilian reds, so don’t dismiss a red with this dish.
Beer is notoriously hard to pair with the tomato because it has a strong and acidic flavor all it's own BUT a good clean lager will do well by your palette every time.
If You Like This Recipe…
…you might also like:
- Pork Scaloppine with A Warmed Tomato Ginger Sauce
- Juicy Pan Seared Heritage Pork Chops With Dijon Au Jus
- Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin
- Pan Seared Pork Chops With Maple Roasted Pears
Pan Seared Pork Chops With Maple Roasted Pears
Want a bigger or smaller serving size? Hover over the serving size and move the bar until you get the number of servings you want. Easy.
- large cast iron skillet
- instant read meat thermometer
- wire whisk
- heavy gauge aluminum foil
- gallon-sized plastic freezer bag that zips
Ingredients For Cast Iron Pork Chops With Tomatoes
- 1 cup whole milk or buttermilk
- 10 cloves garlic fresh, divided; 8 cloves smashed, 2 cloves chopped fine
- 4 bone-in 1 1/2 to 2-inch thick pork loin center cut chops that are well marbled
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 large Vidalia onion chopped; may substitute any sweet onion
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with chilies hot or mild
- 1/4 cup Bourbon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons salted butter divided
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves fresh
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and inserting a wire rack. Set aside.
- Use the smooth side of a meat mallet to smash 8 of the garlic cloves. Add the garlic to the whole milk or buttermilk and let stand 20 minutes.
- Load the pork chops into the plastic freezer bag and pour the milk mixture over the chops. Press as much air out of the bag before sealing. Move the contents of the bag around so that all surfaces of each chop are coated. Lay flat on a plate and refrigerate for 2 hours before flipping the bag and refrigerating for at least one more hour (no more than 10 hours).
- Remove the bag from the refrigerator. Using kitchen tongs, remove each chop from the bag and shake off any excess liquid. Place each chop on the prepared baking sheet fitted with the wire rack. Discard milk and garlic mixture. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with the Kosher salt and pepper and let stand for 30 to 40 minutes to bring the meat to room temperature.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Tilt and swirl the pan to coat the surface well with the oil and butter.
- When the oil is shimmering and the butter begins to foam, add each chop to the skillet being careful not to crowd them. Resist the urge to move them around in the skillet. Allow the chops to sear until well browned on the first side, about 4 minutes. urn the chops and sear on the second side for about 4 minutes. Use kitchen tongs to remove the chops to a plate and cover with heavy gauge aluminum to keep warm.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Use the back of a spoon to scrape up the fond at the bottom of the pan. Allow the onions to become translucent and golden, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic to the onion and cook for one minute. Stir in the diced tomatoes with chilies, granulated sugar, and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Cook the tomato mixture over medium to medium low heat until the juices are reduced by half, about 10 to 12 minutes. The tomato pieces will be starting to stick slightly to the bottom of the pan at this point.
- Remove the cast iron skillet from the heat. Add the Bourbon all at once and use a wire whisk to loosen anything that is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return to the heat. Add the heavy cream and whisk constantly as you turn the heat to medium high. Mixture will thicken as it bubbles, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Use tongs to return the pork chops to the pan and the pan sauce along with any accumulated juices from the plate. Cover.
- Cook the chops until they reach an internal temperature of 145°F, about 12 to 15 minutes. Once chops are sufficiently cooked through, remove the pan from the heat. Cut the last remaining tablespoon of butter into 4 pieces and dot one piece on top of each chop. Tent with foil and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute in the meat, the butter to melt, and for the pan sauce to thicken slightly.
- Sprinkle the chops and pan sauce with fresh thyme leaves. Serve over fluffy white rice.
Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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