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Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Olives in Lemon And Turmeric Butter Sauce

Updated: May 4

Growing up, pork chops, specifically pork loin chops, were a regular feature on our dinner table, often appearing at least twice a week. I can vividly recall walking into the kitchen and finding the sink filled with pink liquid while my mom yelled, “Don’t you dare get anything in my pork chops!” To this day, I’m still uncertain why she didn’t opt for a large plastic bowl, but her response was always, “It tastes better in the sink.” In the South, pork chops were typically shallow-fried or baked and often served with a brown gravy featuring onions made from the fat rendered by the chops.

Years later, during my exploration of Middle Eastern cuisine, I stumbled upon a dish that piqued my interest. It intrigued me because it combined olives, lemons, and turmeric in a way that was unfamiliar to my upbringing. Back then, lemons were primarily served with seafood, sweet tea, or lemonade, olives were reserved for salads, pizzas, or cocktails, and turmeric was practically unknown to us. It’s worth noting that in the Middle East, this dish is typically prepared with poultry, lamb, goat, or beef, as pork is not widely used due to religious reasons.

To my delight, when I finally tasted this dish, the vibrant lemon flavor beautifully complemented the earthiness of turmeric. The combination worked in harmony with the richness of butter and the saltiness of the olives. It transformed what was once a somewhat ordinary weekly dinner into a mouthwatering culinary experience.

Pan-Fried Pork Chops With Olives in Lemon/Turmeric Butter Sauce

Serves: 6

Prep Time: 15

Cooking Time: 30


  1. 6 bone-in pork loin chops (boneless works too, but bone-in gives a better flavor.)

  2. 1 medium sized fresh lemon, unpeeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices with any seeds removed

  3. 3/4 cup white or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4 inch half moons

  4. 1/4 cup ripe black olives, brine drained

  5. 1/4 cup green olives, brine drained

  6. 2 tablespoons butter

  7. 2 tablespoons olive oil

  8. 1/2 cup chicken stock (1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup chicken stock is lovely too.)

  9. 1/2 cup Flour (All Purpose or Self-Rising are fine.)

  10. 1 tablespoon ground turmeric

  11. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  12. 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  13. 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary


  1. On a plate (or sheet pan) pour the flour into the center, salt/pepper to taste, mix and set aside.

  2. Dry your pork chops with a clean kitchen towel and place on another plate (or sheet pan) in one layer.

  3. In a large sauté pan on medium-high, put in 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil and allow to come to temperature. (You should see the foaming from the water in the butter slowing down.) Place the lemon slices in the pan and cook on each side until the sugars in the lemon start to caramelize (or brown.) Remove lemon to a small plate.

  4. Toss in your onions and allow to sauté until the sugars in the onions start to brown slightly. Remove to the plate with your lemons.

  5. Dredge each pork chop lightly in the seasoned flour and knock off any excess flour. Place each floured pork chop into the sauté pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork chops about 3 minutes on each side, until cooked about halfway, and then remove from the pan and set aside.

  6. Pour the remaining oil from the sauté pan into a heat proof bowl. Reserve about 1 tablespoon of the oil from the sauce, and the rest can be discarded.

  7. Add the 1 tablespoon reserved cooking oil and the final tablespoon of butter into the sauté pan along with the turmeric, rosemary, thyme and cumin, and allow to bloom for about 1-2 minutes.

  8. De-glaze the pan with the chicken stock, and then add the olives, lemon and onions and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

  9. Add the pork chops back to the pan and spoon the sauce over the top. Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pork chops to rest in the sauce, covered for 5-10 minutes.

  10. Goes really well with quinoa and a tomato, cucumber, and cilantro salad.

Note: This dish can be made with just green or green olives. It is also perfectly fine to use Italian seasoning in place of thyme and rosemary if you wish.

Did You Make This Recipe?

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