I grew up under the impression that pork chops were nothing more than overcooked, underseasoned, scrawny scraps, typically accompanied by overcooked, underseasoned roasted potatoes and carrots. [No offense to my mother, she just had certain culinary limitations.]
My children, fortunately, will grow up knowing that pork should be tender, succulent, and always a surprise. It might be a Tex-Mex influenced pork tenderloin or, as is the case here, it might be center-cut pork chops coated with an easy, but elegant spice rub.
Coupled with carrots that you cook in the same pan as the pork and some herby smashed potatoes and you’ve got yourself a fantastic and easy mid-week meal.
Rub (from Fine Cooking magazine)
- 3 teaspoons of dark brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons of crushed fennel seed
- 2 teaspoons of sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons of black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
- 4 center-cut pork chops
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 to 3 handfuls of baby carrots (cut any particularly big ones in half)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon (or thyme)
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Combine and mix all of the rub items together.
Put a little olive oil on each chop, rub it in, and then coat each chop with some of the spice rub.
Combine the carrots in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of oil, salt, pepper, and tarragon.
Put the remaining olive oil (at least one tablespoon) in a large, oven-proof pan and heat over med-high heat. After a minute or two (you want that pan to be hot), put the chops in the pan and don’t touch them. After 3-4 minutes, flip over (with tongs) and don’t touch them. You want to sear the chops, so don’t move them around in the pan!
Put the carrots in the pan with the chops and put the pan in the oven for no more than 10 minutes. Pull from the oven and serve immediately.