Simple but great tasting pork chops, similar to what you might find in a small trattoria in the north of Italy, are quick and easy to prepare. Simply pan seared until golden brown and then basted with brown butter, garlic and fresh sage leaves, the pork chops are succulent and delicious.
In the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, much of the cuisine could be described as rich and indulgent. Many of its well known dishes are based on pork, butter and cream using ingredients such as Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh herbs such as sage. Sage, an aromatic herb that has a savory, slightly peppery taste, is often used to balance the richness of certain dishes. It is used in the classic Italian dish, veal saltimbocca with prosciutto and sage. One of the most common pairings from the region is pumpkin pasta tossed with fried sage leaves and browned butter. If you are like me and love the nutty goodness of brown butter and crispy sage leaves, then you must give this quick and easy pork recipe a try.
Pork chops are pan sautéd on the stovetop until they develop a golden brown crust and then basted with sage and garlic infused brown butter. I think you will agree, once that you have cooked this northern Italian inspired dish, that this is one of the easiest and tastiest ways of preparing pork chops that you have ever tried.
Pork Chops With Brown Butter, Garlic And Sage
Serves 2, adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
- 2 bone-in pork chops, about 1″ thick (I used 1-1/4″ pork rib chops)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 or more sage leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 2 Tbsp. butter
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a sauté pan just large enough to contain the pork chops without overlapping them. When the oil is shimmering add the chops. Sear for one minute, turn and cook an additional minute. Using tongs, cook the fatty edge of the chops for 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, turning the pork chops every minute, until they are golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers 135 degrees, about 6 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chops, it could take 8 to 10 minutes if they are extra thick.
Slide the pan off the heat, add the butter, sage leaves and garlic to the hot sauté pan. When the butter has melted, tip the pan and baste the pork chops. Return to the heat and continue to baste until the sage leaves turn crisp and the butter browns. Remove from the heat and let the chops rest about 5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees for slightly pink and juicy meat. To serve, top with some of the crispy sage leaves and drizzle with a spoonful of the garlicky brown butter pan juices.
To insure an extra juicy pork chop, I like brining them: Mix up a brine of 1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt, 1 1/2 Tbsp. of brown sugar in three cups of water. When the salt and sugar are dissolved, place the pork chops in a container and pour the brine over. If needed, add a little extra water to make sure the chops are covered with brine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours. Remove the pork chops from the brine and discard. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels and proceed with the recipe. *The brine is for two chops, adjust the brine recipe accordingly.
The bone in chops should be at least an inch thick and be marbled with some fat so they don’t dry out as they cook. Boneless pork chops, which are usually leaner, will cook faster, so you may have to adjust the cooking time.
When searing the pork chops, use a pair of tongs to sear the fatty edges as well.
While it may seem unusual to repeatedly flip the pork chops, it ensures they cook more evenly.
If the pork chops are extra thick, you can use an ovenproof sauté pan for searing the chops on both sides and then finish the chops in a 350 degree oven until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees, about 5 minutes. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing or serving so that they reach a final internal temperature of 145 degrees for slightly pink meat.
Brown butter is extremely easy to burn once the solids start to foam so watch it carefully.
Cooking mellows sage, so for fullest flavor it should be added at the end of the cooking process. It will only take 2 to 3 minutes to turn crispy and infuse its unique flavor and complexity to the recipe.
While sage is a great flavor match for pork, rosemary or thyme would work as a substitute if you don’t care for sage.The Cook’s Notes
I served these quick and easy pork chops with creamy mashed potatoes. Lean a chop on the potatoes, drizzle with the sage garlic butter and top with crispy sage leaves. A nice green vegetable like broccoli or green beans is a good accompaniment. My husband and I agreed that we could eat the brown butter, garlic and sage sauce by the spoonful but instead we drizzled the delicious pan juices over the chops and let it slide down onto the mashed potatoes…I can assure you it was heavenly.