Pork Chops with Braised Cabbage
Is there a more perfect combo than pork and cabbage? Usually the cabbage comes in the form of sauerkraut, but it is just as easily braised in a little stock with some sliced onions and seasonings. We used celery seeds and caraway seeds which work beautifully with the cabbage and pork. By the way, are you aware that the USDA has officially lowered the recommended internal temperature for cooked pork? It’s now 145°F, meaning US raised pork can now sport a little pink on the inside without causing worry.
We used large, bone-in pork chops for this recipe, but any style pork chop—thick or thin, bone-in or boneless—will work. Note that the ultimate cooking time may depend on if you are using pork chops taken directly from the fridge or chops that have been allowed to come closer to room temperature before cooking. Thin chops you can take directly from the refrigerator. Thick chops should probably sit out for a bit before cooking.
- 2 teaspoons bacon fat, butter or vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, sliced 1/4-inch, about 2 cups
- 1/2 head of cabbage, sliced 1/4-inch wide slices
- 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1/2 cup stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable) or water
- 1 Tbsp mustard, preferably Dijon
- 1 Tbsp malt or cider vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp bacon fat or high smoke point vegetable oil such as canola oil
- 4 pork chops
1 Cook the cabbage first. Heat the bacon fat (or butter or vegetable oil) in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring only occasionally, until the edges of the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle salt over the onions as they cook. Add the sliced cabbage and toss to combine. Cook for a minute or two, then add the celery seed, caraway, and stock. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook, covered for 10 minutes.
2 After 10 minutes, remove from heat, but leave the cover on the pan. Wait another 5 minutes, then uncover the pan and mix in the mustard and vinegar. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
3 As soon as you cover the cabbage pan in step 1, heat a tablespoon of bacon fat or oil in a cast iron frying pan on medium high heat. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them with salt and lay them in the pan, working in batches if necessary as to not crowd the pan.
Tip: Place the chops in the pan so that the thickest, boniest parts are near the center of the pan where they get the most heat.
As soon as the chops are nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes or so, flip them and sear them on the other side. If your pork chops are less than 3/4-inch thick, and you are using a cast iron pan, once the chops are seared on the second side, remove the pan from heat and let the chops sit in the hot pan until cooked through (you can use the finger test to check for the doneness of the meat). If you are not using a cast iron pan, just remove the pan from heat and cover the pan for a few minutes until the chops are done.
If your chops are thicker than 3/4-inch, and you are using a cast iron pan, remove the pan from heat and cover it, letting the chops finish cooking for about 5 minutes. If not using a cast iron pan, keep the chops covered on low heat for another 5 minutes after searing.
4 Remove the chops from the pan and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve alongside the cabbage.