Shannon Hayes

Recipe: Pan-Seared Pork Chops

If you have read the JVF Simply Simple Cooking Book, you know that it is a beginners’ guide rather than a recipe cookbook in the traditional sense. It is meant to give you some ideas about the principles of cooking and turn you loose to give it a try. From there you can expand to more elaborate methods. So here is one of those elaborations brought to us from Shannon Hayes, a friend and correspondent from her farm in New York. While I haven’t tried it, I only need see the ingredients and method to know it must be delicious. Use it for any of the pork chops or medallions found in your cooler.

Pan-Seared Pork Chops

Serves 2-4

This recipe is taken from my most recent cookbook, Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Guide to Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies, and Living Deliciously. I never had very good luck turning out a consistently juicy and tender pan-cooked pork chop until I came across this technique, adapted from Bruce Aidell’s Complete Book of Pork. Now I have success every time.


  • 2 bone-in pork rib or sirloin chops, 1¼-inches thick
  • 3 large cloves fresh garlic, 1 minced and 2 peeled but left whole
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, 2 melted, or 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 cup Meat Broth
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Blot the chops dry. Stir the garlic, thyme, black pepper and salt into the melted butter. Brush this on the chops and allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. Put the whole garlic cloves and broth in a small saucepan. Bring it to a simmer until the garlic is soft and the broth is reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Meanwhile, heat a skillet that is large enough to hold two pork chops without crowding them over a medium-high flame.
  3. Add the remaining butter or lard and swirl to coat the pan. Add the chops and sear 2-3 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Turn and cook 2 minutes longer, then reduce the heat to medium-low. The chops should still be sputtering. If you don’t hear this sound, the heat is too low, and your chops run the risk of sweating, which causes them to dry out. Once you hear a gentle sizzle, cover and cook until the chops reach an internal temperature between 145-to-160-degrees, depending on how done you like them, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chops to a platter and allow the meat to rest while you prepare the pan sauce.
  4. Using a fork, thoroughly mash the softened garlic into the reduced broth. Return the skillet to a medium flame. Pour in the garlic reduction and bring it to a simmer, gently scraping up the browned bits from the pan. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by one third. Stir in the bourbon, simmer a minute more, then whisk in the mustard and cream. Pour over the chops and serve.