Aaah the beauty of a cast iron skillet!.. I get asked often what kind of cooking pans one should get in their kitchen. People often expect me to talk about a set of pricey All-Clad pans or Le Creuset from France. And yes, they are great.
However there’s nothing better than an old fashioned cast iron skillet, mainly because of heat repartition and also the feel of a heavy, indestructible vintage pan.
There is no better recipe to witness the delicious power of cast iron than with this delicious pork chop recipe. Although of course you can make it without the skillet.
For this pork chop recipe, we’ll use bon-in pork chops. Thick ones. Bone-in gives more flavor, and adds moisture. All good things. We want thick (1 1/4 inch thick) which is better. First it’s easier to cook right (the window of time between undercooked and overcooked is bigger), and it’s really awesome to taste a thick, moist, chunky piece of meat.
For green beans, I like to use French green beans. They are thinner and more delicate, and much tastier when cooked. Buy them already trimmed if you can. Nobody’s time is best spent trimming green beans.
For the aromatics… I love the juxtaposition of mint, basil, spicy red pepper flakes, and crumbled feta. It’s just nice, fresh and vibrant.
Talking about pork chops recipe and cast iron skillet, I want to bring your attention towards the browning. To achieve a great browning like on the video below, you want to heat up the skillet intensely. You’ll want to first make sure the pork chops are free of water; dry them up with a paper towel. Water is never good to achieve a golden brown crust, so you’ll be better off with a dry pork chop.
Heat is important. High heat of course, but not smoking. Controlled high heat, is what we want.
You will need enough fat to keep the browning going. If you suspect the pan to be too dry (it starts to burn), add a bit of fat and you’ll see things ‘caramelizing’ a bit better.
The hard part here with this pork chop recipe is making sure your pork chops are cooked enough. If you sear them properly (at least 3-4 minutes on each side), and then cover the pan like on the photo, you should be close to cooking the pork chops through. To make sure, poke the meat close to the bone with a thermometer and make sure it reaches 145F.
You can also take a paring knife and slice along the bone and peek in the middle. Make sure the juices are clear.
PORK CHOPS, GREEN BEANS AND FETA SKILLET
- 2 (1 1/4-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops
- 1 tablespoon extra-virginolive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups french green beans,trimmed
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint andbasil
- large pinch of red-pepper flakes
- ½ cup crumbled feta
- Lemon juice, for serving
- salt & pepper to taste
- Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high until shimmering.
- Add the pork chops to skillet and sear, without moving, until dark golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Lower heat, cover pan and cook the pork chops for 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate.
- Return the skillet to the stove and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and cook until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add green beans, red-pepper flakes and salt, stirring everything to coat with pan juices
- Making space in the skillet, return pork chops to pan, surrounding them with beans. Add feta, mint and basil. Cover and cook over low heat until pork chops are just cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes longer.
- Drizzle or squeeze lemon juice over the dish and serve.