These thyme pork chops with maple-cranberry sauce are very easy and delicious. They make an easy weekday dinner, but elegant enough to serve at a dinner party!
Cranberries are very versatile and are often paired with apples, cinnamon, cloves, oranges, pears, sugar and walnuts. They grow on low vines in cultivated bogs (swamps) throughout Massachusetts, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Their peak harvesting season is from Labor Day through October.
When the fresh cranberries start showing up at the market in mid-November, I grab about 6 or 7 bags. I use a couple of bags for Thanksgiving when I make my fresh cranberry-pecan relish and I freeze the other ones to use throughout the year in breads, pies and pastries.
Pork is also usually paired with apples and pears just like cranberries, so why not pair cranberries and pork? The combination works. The maple syrup tames the tart cranberries and when mixed with the pan juices of the pork chops and the thyme, you’ve got some really wonderful flavors going on!
Thyme Pork Chops with Maple-Cranberry Sauce
- 2 1-inch thick bone-in pork chops
- 1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 350F.
Pat the pork chops dry.
Press 1 teaspoon thyme all over the chops on one side. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Heat the oil in a heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the seasoned side of the pork chops down and cook without moving until the pork is browned around the edges and easily releases from the pan about 3 to 4 minutes.
While the chops are searing, press 1 teaspoon thyme on the other side of the chops and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. When the pork chops are browned and releases from the pan on the first side, flip them over and sear on the other side until browned.
Insert a digital cooking thermometer set for 150 degrees into the meat close to but not touching the bone and put in the oven until the temperature is reached. This temperature will leave a pinkish center to the chops (which is perfectly fine). However, if you are put off by pink pork, cook the chops to 160 degrees.
Take the pan out of the oven (being sure to put a cool handle sleeve over the hot skillet handle). Transfer the pork chops to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the cranberries, cranberry juice cocktail, maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to the skillet and turn the heat to medium high.
Cook, whisking to incorporate the mustard and any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the cranberries soften and the liquid has reduced to a sauce consistency, about 7 minutes.
Serve the thyme pork chops with the maple-cranberry sauce. ENJOY!
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