Pork Chops with Potatoes and Vinegar Peppers

Tired at the end of a long day? You can make this full-flavored dish in one pan in less than 30 minutes. Easy to make and an easy clean-up too. You can even make it with cut-up chicken and it’s just as delicious.

Imagine we’re in southern Italia.  The golden pork chops, browned potatoes and carmelized onions are gently infused with the fragrance and piquancy of the sweet vinegar cherry peppers. No heat in this dish–just a plate full of flavor.

The key to this recipe is cooking it in stages and then assembling all the ingredients at the end to finish the dish. The pork chops are browned in a cast iron or heavy saute pan and when golden brown out they come to rest. In go the potatoes and then the onions to cook in a handy steam-saute method that reduces the cooking time. (The steam/saute method works well with a variety of vegetables.) Add the garlic and cherry peppers to finish the saute. Back in go the chops covered with the vegetables so while they heat briefly they will pick up the flavor of the cherry peppers. Pour any remaining pan sauce over the chops and vegetables and you’re ready to eat. How quick and easy is this?

The chops have a nice crust but retain moisture. The potatoes are nicely browned and full of flavor. I like to get a piece of cherry pepper with each bite. Heaven!

Pork Chops with Potatoes and Vinegar Peppers

Ingredients

  • 4 center cut pork chops
  • 4 small Yukon Gold potatoes sliced thin
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 4 small sweet vinegar cherry peppers, seeded and halved (or any other pepper packed in vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • sea salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions

  1. Liberally coat both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Slit the fat on the edge of the chop in several places. This will keep the chop from curling while cooking.
  3. Put a cast iron pan or heavy saute pan over high heat. Add the EVOO and when the oil starts to ripple put the pork chops in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium high. (Do not crowd the pork chops or they will steam rather than brown.)
  4. Leave the chops alone. When you have a nice brown crust on the chops usually within 5 minutes turn the chops over and cook the other side for about 3 minutes. You do not need a nice brown crust on the second side because it will not be the presentation side of the pork chop so do not overcook the chops. The chops should be barely pink inside.
  5. Remove the chops from the pan tent with foil to keep them warm and set the chops aside.
  6. If there is too much oil in the pan pour some off. If there is not enough add a bit more EVOO.
  7. While the pan is hot add the potatoes and coat well with the oil.
  8. When the potatoes just start to pick up some color add about 1/4 cup water--just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Increase the heat to high. When the water starts to bubble scrape off all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  9. Cover the pan (the steam/saute method). The potatoes will steam and the total cooking time will be reduced.
  10. Check the potatoes in a minute or 2. They should be almost fork tender. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
  11. Leave the cover off. Scatter the potatoes so that most lay flat on the bottom of the pan. Let them cook until most take on a golden brown color. Turn them at least once so they brown on both sides. (Most of the water should evaporate and the potatoes will finish cooking in the oil.)
  12. Remove the potatoes and spread them in a single layer on a plate, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and set them aside.
  13. If the pan is too dry add a bit more oil. Increase the heat to high. When the oil starts to ripple add the onions, sprinkle with salt and coat the onions with the oil.
  14. Use the steam-saute method with the onions too. Add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of water and put the cover on the pan.
  15. When the onions start to turn translucent take the cover off and finish cooking over medium-high heat until they are soft and have started to caramelize. Most of the water should have evaporated by now and the onions will finish cooking in the oil.
  16. Add the garlic and cherry peppers and mix with the onions. Continue to saute for about a minute more.
  17. Take the vegetables out of the pan and set aside.
  18. Put the chops and any juices back in the pan and top with all the vegetables along with any juices.
  19. Heat the pork chops and vegetables briefly.
  20. Place the chops on a serving platter either covered by or surrounded by the potatoes, onions and cherry peppers. If there is any sauce in the pan pour it evenly over the chops and vegetables.
  21. Serve immediately.
  22. Serves 4.