Oven-Roasted Pork Chops with Bacon-Herbed Pan Gravy
Whew! What a busy time of year this is!! Piano contests, recitals, graduation celebrations & ceremonies, and camp for the 5th grader…Dinners have been slim this week so I owed it to the family to make something extra tasty!
Pork chops are always a hit, but today I played a little cooking game with myself: “Use it or Lose it” which caused the chops to turn out a little fancier than usual. What kind of game is this? you may ask… Well, it goes like this: what do you have in the fridge…that’s on it’s last leg?? Is it close to being thrown out?? Is it edible? If so, use it to create something tasty.
I started out with 8 thin-cut bone in pork chops. Here is what I pulled out of the fridge:
- ½ lb applewood smoked slab bacon
- 1 half-zested lemon
- ½ a carton of organic beef broth
I am sure I would have been tossing these items into the garbage within a few days & it is so satisfying to use ingredients that had almost no hope of being used and turning it into something GREAT!! Bacon and pork chops seem like a natural pairing, right?? It may seem like pork overload but the bacon actually does several brilliant things:
- adds fat to the pan – giving the chops that perfect crispy sear,
- adds an amazing background of smokiness – making the palate think you went to a lot more effort to impart flavors than you really did
- adds a nice layer of brininess – we all know, pork needs salt
- the chunks of crisp bacon add a delightful texture
- bacon flavored gravy?? who could ask for more?!
Two important ingredients in this dish: fresh parsley and lemon. Both need to be added at the last minute in order to prevent the parsley from loosing it’s color and if the lemon cooks too long it will turn bitter. But added at just the right time– it adds just the right amount of brightness to the rich, smoky pan gravy.
- 1/2 lb slab applewood smoked bacon, cut into large cubes
- 8 thin-cut bone in pork chops
- steakhouse seasoning
- 2 1/2 c organic beef broth
- 2 heaping t of cornstarch
- 1 lemon, zested, half juiced & half thinly sliced
- 1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
- Sea salt & fresh ground pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°. Heat a large braiser over medium heat. Add bacon cubes and sear until deep golden brown, stir a few times to keep bacon from burning. At the same time, season both sides of the chops. Once bacon is crisp, add 4 seasoned chops to the brasier. Sear on each side to reach golden brown. ((the chop doesn't have to be cooked through at this point - just medium golden brown)) Remove the chops from the pan and repeat with remaining 4 chops.
- Once all 8 chops are browned, set ten aside, pour the broth and sprinkle the cornstarch in the pan. Stir to combine & replace chops in the brasier. Cover and place in the oven for approximately 1 hr.
- Once cooking is complete, add lemon zest, juice stir and top with slices and herbs.
- Salt & pepper to taste.