This Pork Chop Skillet with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce is so easy to make and is flavorful, juicy, and super delicious!
Raise your hand if you're in a weeknight dinner rut and are in dire need of a break from chicken! We've all been there at some point, and if you haven't been, you will be if you cook dinner at home on the reg. Let's face it, sometimes the grocery budget gets tight - fish and beef can be expensive, and we just get tired of chicken!
While Ryan and I are fans of the vegetarian approach to a weeknight dinner to save $$ and up our veggie intake, I love to switch things up a few times per month and make a tasty, lean pork recipe. Variety is key when it comes to getting a healthy, balanced range of nutrients, staying within your grocery budget, and keeping meals interesting and enjoyable! So we try to eat beef or pork once per week, fish twice, and then poultry or vegetarian the rest of the time.
How To Cook Pork Chops on the Stove
I'm a big fan of pork tenderloin on the grill or a juicy pork loin roast in the slow cooker. But when I want something super fast and have food on the table in under 30 minutes, I love to rely on boneless, center cut pork chops! This is such an affordable cut, a great source of lean protein, and in my opinion, easier to cook than a chicken breast. You don't have to cook pork as long to reach the safe internal temperature. In case you were wondering, pork only needs to reach a temp of 145 degrees℉ for safe consumption, and chicken needs to reach 165 degrees℉. So there's much less of chance that you will overcook the pork when simply sauteeing in a skillet!
This sauteed pork chop recipe uses the delicious brown bits that develop on a skillet as the pork is cooked to make a simple pan sauce. The acid from the fruit and fruit juice does something that chefs call "deglazing" the pan, and the technique results in adding tons of flavor to your final sauce that will elevate your dish and make it taste super fancy!
Tips for Modifying This Pork Chop Recipe
Pork pairs really well with the sweet acidity of fruit like fresh cranberries and apples, and Dijon mustard and a hint of maple syrup are great ingredients to add depth and interest to the flavor of your sauce. I've got a ton of fresh thyme exploding in my box garden that I added to my sauce, but you can also use dried thyme. And as far as the juice goes, I used pomegranate juice to enhance the beautiful maroon color of the cranberries that burst as the pan sauce is cooked. But apple cider or apple juice would work just as well. You could also sub in sliced pears for the apples, or red grapes cut into quarters for the fresh cranberries. Make it your own and have fun with it!
Tools You Will Need For Making This Recipe
Are you ready to get make this Pork Chop Skillet with Cranberry Apple Pan Sauce? Good! I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! Leave a comment and rate the recipe below. This will help me with the creation of future recipes! I’d also love to feature your creation in my monthly newsletter, so you can upload a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the tag @sweetcayenne5 to be featured!
- 4 boneless center-cut pork chops
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 large Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, washed
- 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, roughly chopped (or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme)
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup pomegranate juice, apple cider, or apple juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the heated skillet. Place pork chops in skillet and saute for 4-5 minutes on each side, about 9 minutes total. The internal temperature should reach 140℉. Remove pork chops from skillet and transfer to a plate on the stovetop. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Return the skillet to medium-low heat and add the apples. Saute until slightly softened, about 3 minutes, then add the cranberries. Saute for a minute to combine. Add the thyme, chicken stock, pomegranate or apple juice, maple syrup, and Dijon, stirring continuously to combine. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and stir often to reduce the liquid down to about ½ a cup. The sauce will be thicker and will lightly coat the back of a spoon.
- Return pork chops and any accumulated juices back to the pan. Use tongs or a fork to turn the pork chops a couple of times in the pan to heat through and coat with sauce. Serve pork chops hot with fruit and sauce spooned over the top.
- Serving suggestions: creamy polenta, mashed sweet potato or butternut squash, or wild rice pilaf as a carb option and winter greens like sauteed chard, collard greens, turnip greens, kale or spinach as a veggie option.
- Leftovers are wonderful up to 3 days. Simple reheat the chops covered in the microwave with sauce spooned over the top. I recommend heating for 1 ½ to 2 minutes at 70 percent power to prevent toughness with reheating.
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