TOP TEN POSTS OF 2022: #1 Barely Lemon Shortbread. #2 Summer Vegetable Tart. #3 Greek Salmon Pasta Salad. #4 Apple-Cheddar Corn Muffins #5 Double (GF) or Triple Chocolate Cheesecake #6 Mushroom and Leek Lentil-Chickpea Soup #7 KIDS BAKE MOTHER’S DAY: Apple-Pecan Coffeecake #8 Pizza Egg Bake #9 Tuscan Chicken Stew (Revisited) #10 Ham and Broccoli Quiche (Cleaning Out the Christmas Kitchen) As we begin a new year of blogging, my most loving thanks goes to the sous chef of my life, my husband Dave, who shops for me; chops for me; grills for me; keeps me laughing, and shares my table nightly. He’s always been my best taste-tester and for that, I’m infinitely grateful.
The greatest number of people read the now 14-year blog on March 10, 2020, though the post was published two days before that: FRIDAY FISH: Oyster Po’ Boy with Horseradish Blue Cheese Sauce.
In December, I promised you I’d have a few more Quarter-Sheet Pan Dinners and, right on time a month later, here’s the next! If you’re like me, you’re ready to put the holidays in the rear view window and have something different to eat after those big meals and all of those leftovers. (Do you have cookies in the freezer?! I do. Ok; we’re good. And you’ll guess our tree is up until Epiphany.) This week’s quarter-sheet pan meal features a simply seasoned pair of thick, bone-in pork chops paired with some fresh beans, thyme, red onions and thinly sliced sweet potato. A fast searing of the chops on the stovetop and the whole shebang slides into the oven for all of 20 minutes while you pour the wine, chat with a friend, or watch a little bit of the new, fab PBS News Hour. (I’m going to miss Judy Woodruff so!) With hardly any work — isn’t that what the oven’s for?–you have a gorgeous, real-deal dinner quick like a bunny. And, wink-wink, this doesn’t feed 4, 6, or 8; it makes just a couple of servings. Exactly what you or someone you know needed.Jump to Recipe
If you’re not familiar with quarter-sheet pans, read up here or look at one or buy here. Basically, it’s half of a half-sheet pan –which is what cooks are talking about when they say, “sheet pan dinner.” A quarter-sheet pan is about 9″ x 13″. Instead of a big old bunch of food for a larger family, this smaller version is ideal for two or for one with the next night’s dinner built right in. (Or invite a friend!) So how does this one go? Look through the photos below for the elevator speech or scroll down to check out the recipe should you still need it:
CHANGE IT UP:
There’s probably no end to how many different ways this sweet little dinner could be changed up. I’ve left it as elementary as possible because #1 it’s good that way and #2 you can figure out how you’d best like it. You’re smart that way. Let’s talk about a few basics you might be thinking about. I’m a huge fan of big, thick , bone-in chops and like heritage pork if I can swing it. (Luckily these are often marked down in my King Soopers’ [Kroger} grocery. I stock up and freeze them when possible.) Boneless chops are typically less expensive than bone-in (they’re really inexpensive if you slice them off a pork loin roast) and you could sub them, though I don’t think they’re as tasty. No bone, no fat; there you go. But the price might sway you and cook them we all do. They take less time to cook–as much as 20%, so start the vegetables ahead if you go that route. Same drill for thinner bone-in pork chops. I include sliced apples — always great with pork–as an option here, but you could also do ripe or nearly-ripe pears. Swapping in white potatoes for the sweet potatoes will be fine. They might get a bit crispier, but who would complain about crispy? Broccoli instead of green beans? No problem, but cut the the broccoli into small spears. (Just to be sure, check the broccoli 5 minutes early and remove if necessary.) Asparagus is going to cook much quicker, so drop those babies in at the 10 minute mark. Seasonings? You could go in lot of directions. Rosemary (the dry sort unless you live in a warm climate and have rosemary growing right now) on the chops might be my first thought. Just add maybe 1/2 teaspoon for each side of the chops, pressing it in after you sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Smoked paprika or garlic salt are two other go-tos. Any dry rub for pork is going to work here, but you might look at this one you make at home from SimplyRecipes. I adore Steven Raichlen and we do a ton of his grilling and smoking recipes. Read up on chops with Steven here. I often brine my chops, but did not do it for this recipe in the interest of simplicity. To dress up the pork, I include a couple of ideas for basic sauces (BBQ and Mustard, a pat of salted butter, or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar), but you might consider other toppings such as tapenade, crisp bacon, sliced cooked mushrooms and/or onions or shallots, a spoonful of herbed soft cheese, diced roasted peppers, and so on. Want to upgrade your sauce list? Look here.
Now that you have a few ideas in your back pocket, it’s time to try this:
Quarter-Sheet Pan Pork Chop Dinner for Two (with Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- ½ small red onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- ½- pound green beans
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced very thinly
- ½ small apple, cored and sliced thinly (optional)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 thick, bone-in pork chops (approximately 1.5 pounds total)
- PREPARATION: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place rack at center. Line a quarter-sheet pan with foil or parchment paper.
- PREP THE VEGETABLES: In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, beans, sweet potato, and apple (if using) along with ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, crushed red pepper, thyme, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Set aside.
- PREP + SEAR THE PORK CHOPS ON THE STOVETOP: Heat a small grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. In the meanwhile, blot dry the chops with a paper towel, drizzle them with a teaspoon of olive oil on each side, and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the pork chops and sear on each side for 2 minutes or until you see golden brown grill marks.
- ROAST THE CHOPS AND THE VEGETABLES IN THE OVEN: Place the seared chops in the middle of the prepared quarter-sheet pan and spoon the reserved vegetable mixture evenly around them. Place pan in oven and roast for about 20 minutes or until chops register 140 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and vegetables are tender-crisp. (Do check on the meat ahead of time if the food seems to be cooking pretty quickly. You can always return the vegetables to the oven if the meat is done first. Your chops may be of a different size than mine.)
- REST FOR FIVE MINUTES before serving hot drizzled with juices from the pan or with a sauce (see NOTES).Store leftovers well-wrapped in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do not freeze. Reheat briefly in greased skillet or grill pan.
IF YOU LIKED THIS, YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE MY:
LIFE GOES ON:
If you’re a regular reader, you might remember my husband Dave and I were headed off on cruise to Mexico for Christmas week. It couldn’t have been any better. Great weather, wonderful food and company, lots of time to read, listen (I brought a ton of music), reflect, Christmas, snuggle, and rest. We did get caught in the great Southwest debacle as we booked them to fly home on December 29. Because we booked through Holland America Line, however, HAL (as we call it) took care of rebooking us on United THAT day at what I’m sure was a great expense. It’s not the first time this cruise line has saved our butts and won’t be the last as we are very loyal customers.
Wondering what Christmas dinner looks like a cruise? Here’s our Christmas night menu below. I had the shrimp martini, the nutcracker salad, the beef tenderloin with beer batter shrimp, and a bite of the plum pudding. Just a beautiful meal and all of the portions were small or medium-sized so we didn’t waddle away afterwards. The drinks/wines are just suggestions; there’s a whole huge list from which to choose.
I hope your December was just right and that your new year promises to be healthy and happy. I’m so glad you’re here spending time in the kitchen with me. You are much appreciated and inspirational. I can’t wait to see what we’ll be cooking up together in the months to come.
NEED A BOOK TO READ? CHECK OUT…
Tell the Wolves I’m Home/Carol Rifka Brunt