Everyone loves a quick weeknight dinner that can be passed off as gourmet. These thinly sliced pork chops cook up in just minutes, leaving you time to make an amazing pan gravy and still have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes. Add in a bottle of Beaujolais with a side or two, and dinner is served.
Last week I got a craving for mustard shallot gravy that I had concocted a while back and just had to share it with you. Previously I’ve paired it with sausage, but I started thinking about how well pork chops and mustard go together – thank you South Carolina BBQ sauce – and just had to have them. I have always been a fan of thick cut, bone-in, pork chops. The kind where you fire up the grill and in just a few minutes the chops are a perfect medium, ready to be slathered with barbecue sauce or a tangy glaze. I knew they would be perfect for this gravy. The problem was, when I went to the store yesterday to buy them I couldn’t find any bone-in chops. I found lots of other cuts of meat, but no bone in pork chops. My butcher said I could come back later in the day, but by then I’d lose the light and the photos wouldn’t do it justice.
Since I had already promised my email readers this gravy with pork chops I couldn’t just change the menu. So, I decided to try out the thin sliced version instead. In the past, the biggest problem I have had with thinly sliced pork chops is that it cooks way too quickly and ends up tasting dry and leathery. Not what I want to serve to my family. I have been studying up on cooking skirt steak for steak tacos, which I’ll be posting after the holidays, and figured that similar principles should apply. After all, they are both very thin and you want to get a bit of sear on the outside without over cooking the inside. I cooked up 6 of these chops just to be sure and I don’t think you will be disappointed!
Since these chops are so thin at less than 1/2 inch thick, they won’t take a full 30 minutes to come up to room temperature, but it’s still important to allow the meat to warm up on the inside before cooking. I pulled mine out of the package 15 minutes before they went in the pan, and laid them out flat on the cutting board. By the time I pulled the rest of the ingredients out; mixed the chicken stock with the maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper; and minced the shallot; these were no longer cold to the touch and ready to go.
Rinse your pork chops in cool water, then pat dry with paper towels. Since we are searing these, we don’t want any water to interact with the oil in the pan. Water makes the oil scatter, leaving you with a chop that sticks, even a non-stick pan. Don’t skip the step of drying off the meat and don’t salt before they are ready to go in the pan. Heat your pan over a medium high flame.
Sprinkle each chop liberally with cracked pepper and kosher salt, then pour about 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil on top. Using your hands, rub the olive oil, salt and pepper into the meat, coating the chop evenly. Add about a tablespoon of oil to your pan and give it about 60 seconds to heat up. Place your pork chops into your hot pan, which should sizzle immediately. Cook them about 60 seconds, then shake the pan to make sure they are loose and not burning. Give them 30 seconds more, for a total of 90 seconds on the first side. Flip them over and repeat: 60 seconds, shake, 30 seconds. The top side should have a light to medium caramelization, and the meat should have turned white in color. After the second side is cooked for 90 seconds, pull the chops from the pan and place on a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest while you make the pan gravy. Be careful not to sit them on a cold surface or they will cool way to quickly. In case you are wondering, granite counter tops are great at cooling things off, not keeping them warm.
Returning to your still sizzling hot pan, you should have little bits of pork and some oil left in the bottom of it. Drop the heat to medium, pulling your pan away from the heat to help cool it down a bit. It should only take about 30 seconds off the flame to let it cool. Add the shallots and the butter and give it a stir. The butter should start to melt and the shallots will start to sizzle.
As the butter starts to foam, it will brown a bit. This is a good thing and will add depth to the flavor. Once the shallots have had a moment to cook, becoming tender and translucent, add in the four and start whisking. This is the basis for your gravy. The gluten in the flour will bond with the fats in the butter to create a thickening agent. In order to get the brown color while using a chicken stock, your butter and flour need a couple of minutes to cook. It’s important that you stir the butter and flour mixture constantly. You can make a risotto without stirring constantly, but this must be stirred constantly.
It’s not easy to tell in this picture that the flour is starting to brown, but as you stir you will notice the transition. It should take the flour just a couple of minutes to begin to darken. Once it does add in the chicken stock mixture while continuing to stir. Once the stock is incorporated, you don’t have to stir constantly.
As the gravy heats up, it will start to bubble and thicken. Once it has a noticeably thicker texture (as above), remove it from the heat. If you continue to cook it, the gravy will get lumpy. The good news: if it gets too thick it can be thinned out with a whisk and additional stock. Only add an extra tablespoon or two at a time and adjust your seasoning if necessary.
When the gravy is done, which should only take about 7 minutes, it’s ready to serve. Pour it on liberally. This recipe is enough for 2 gravy lovers, or 4 not so gravy lovers. I paired mine with a cauliflower and potato mash, because who doesn’t love mashed potatoes with gravy?! It also goes great with the Worcestershire green beans I shared with you earlier this week. I got a little greedy with the green beans and forgot to save some for the picture. No, I’m not sorry, they were delicious.
Since this is a quick weeknight dinner, I found a week night wine to go with it. The wine pairing I chose is a Louis Jadot 2013 Beaujolais, a $13 bottle which I found on sale for $10. Beaujolais is Gamay, and it’s known as the “other” type of grape from the Burgundy region of France. Gamay is a medium bodied red wine that pairs well with pork, chicken, and lighter beef fare. This one was slightly fruity, with a bit of spice, high acidity and low tannins. You could also pair these chops with a Pinot Noir (Burgundy’s most famous grape), a Granche, or if you prefer white: a Chardonnay.
Have you ever tried a shallot mustard gravy? What is your favorite way to make pork chops? Let me know in the comments below!
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Pork Chops with Mustard Shallot Gravy
- 4 thinly sliced pork chops 1/2"
- olive oil
- 1/2 shallot - minced
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
- 1 TBSP maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Lay the pork chops out on a cutting board to come to room temperature.
- Mince the shallot.
- Whisk together the chicken stock, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Rinse the pork chops under cool water and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat a frying over a medium high flame.
- Liberally salt and pepper the pork chops, the drizzle with olive oil.
- Using your hands, rub the olive oil, salt and pepper into the pork chop.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to your pan and allow to heat for 30 seconds or so.
- Add the pork chops to the pan, being careful no to crowd them.
- Cook for 60 seconds, then shake the pan to make sure they aren't sticking. Cook 30 seconds longer.
- Flip the chops over and repeat: cook 60 seconds, shake, cook 30 seconds more.
- Place cooked chops on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to rest.
- Lower the heat on the burner to medium.
- Add the shallots and butter. Stirring to ensure they don't burn.
- Once the butter is melted and foamy, add the flour, stirring constantly.
- Once the flour begins to brown, add the chicken stock mixture and whisk to incorporate.
- Allow the mixture to cook for about 3 - 5 minutes or until it bubbles and starts to thicken.
- Pour over the pork chops and serve immediately.