These pan-seared pork chops with a side of garlicky greens are the perfect one-pan meal. It's ready in about half an hour, too! P.S. Brining makes all the difference with making juicy chops, so don't skip it.
For the brine
- 5 cups water
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 bay leaves, broken into pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed, lightly crushed
- 1 sprig thyme
- 4 wide strips of lemon peel, made with a vegetable peeler
For the chops
- 4 (1- to 1 1/4-inch thick) rib pork chops, preferably bone-in (8 to 9 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 8 to 12 sage leaves
- 4 (1/4-inch thick) lemon slices
For the greens
- 4 big handfuls stemmed greens (chard, kale, or mustard greens), coarsely chopped (about 8 ounces once prepped), rinsed, even if “prewashed” and prepackaged.
1 Brine the pork chops at least 8 hours ahead of time: In a small saucepan combine 1 cup of the water, sugar, salt, bay leaves, coriander seed, thyme, and lemon peel. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat.
Fill a 4-cup measuring cup with 2 to 3 cups of ice cubes and add enough cold water to measure 4 cups. Add to the saucepan with the brine and stir until the ice has melted (this helps to quickly cool the brine).
Place the chops in a 1-gallon zipper freezer bag. Place the bag in a bowl and pour the cooled brine into the bag. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 8 hours, or for up to 2 days.
2 Cook the chops: When ready to cook, remove the chops from the brine and pat them dry with a paper towel. Set another paper towel on a small plate for the sage leaves and lemon slices.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the chops and cook them for 2 minutes on a side, or until starting to brown. Continue to cook the chops, turning about every minute, for about 4 to 6 minutes longer, or until the chops are deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 135ºF.
Total cooking time is 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of chops.
3 Rest the chops: Transfer the chops to a plate, cover loosely with foil to keep warm and let rest for at least 5 minutes. The temperature of the chops will tick up to 145°F, the recommended temperature for cooked pork, as it sits.
4 Cook the sage leaves, garlic, and lemon: Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the sage leaves, garlic, and lemon slices to the pan.
Tilt the skillet so the pan drippings are on one side and move the sage leaves to the drippings. Fry the leaves for 20 to 30 seconds, or until crisp. Transfer them to the paper towel-lined plate.
With the pan flat on the burner, continue cooking the garlic and lemon slices, turning often, for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the lemon slices are charred.
Transfer the garlic and lemon slices to the paper towel-lined plate with the sage leaves. Discard the garlic and save the lemon slices to garnish the chops.
5 Cook the greens. With the pan over medium-high heat, add the greens along with any water still clinging to the leaves. Cook, turning often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until wilted.
6 Serve the chops. Divide the greens between the plates. Place a pork chop atop the greens, a lemon slice, and some crispy sage leaves, and serve.