Caramelized pork chops with spiked orange pomegranate sauce

Before we jump into this recipe, let me tell you, I’m not a fan of pork chops. Neither is my family. But once in a while, when they are on sale, I buy them. And you know what? They always turn out great! As long I don’t overcook them it’s all good. It takes a while to get to that perfect doneness. Not too dry. Not raw. Once you get it right pork chops are not that bad. Even better if you drown them in sweet-tangy-fruity-spicy-boozy sauce. Heavenly!

These pork chops are my new favorite. The chops are coated in a brown sugar mixture before being seared in a super hot skillet. Then you deglazed the pan with a bit of orange juice and a cocktail (yes, you read that right) made with muddled pomegranate seeds, thyme, Serrano pepper, lime juice and Cointreau.

I served it on top of couscous—but rice or potatoes are good choices too. The couscous absorbs the sauce and adds some creaminess to the dish.

The pork chops will take no longer than 20 minutes to cook and you can make the couscous in 5 minutes while the chops finish in the oven. It’s one of the easiest, prettiest and tastiest dishes I ever made!

Caramelized pork chops with spiked orange pomegranate sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless pork chops (Aprox. 1.5 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 green onions (white and greens separately chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau (if no alcohol for you just replaced with orange juice)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 small Serrano pepper (cut in half and most seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (plus extra to top chops)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Juice of ½ lime (1/2 tsp aprox)
  • Pinch of lime zest
  • 1 small Serrano pepper (cut in half and most seeds removed)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cayenne, and salt. Place the pork chops on a cutting board and rub the mixture evenly all over them.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork chops and sear for 2 to 4 minutes per side or until brown. Remove the pork chops from the skillet and set aside.
  4. While pork cooks, in a thick glass muddle the pomegranate seeds+thyme+one half Serrano chili with the lime juice, lime zest and Cointreau. Set aside.
  5. Add the white part of the green onions to the skillet sautéing slightly. Deglaze the skillet by pouring the orange juice in. Using a small strainer pour the cocktail mixture to the pan. Add some fresh thyme and season with a pinch of extra salt. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and slide the pork chops into the sauce, cook for a minute longer and remove from heat.
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 5-10 minutes or until the chops are lightly charred and the sauce thickens a little.
  7. Remove from the oven and top with the extra pomegranate seeds, other half of the Serrano pepper and the green part of the green onions.

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