Growing up, pork chops, or pork loin chops, to be specific, were something we had at least two times a week. I remember coming into the kitchen to find the sink filled with pink liquid, and my mom yelling “Don’t ya’ll get anything in my pork chops!” (To this day, I’m still not sure why she didn’t use a large plastic bowl, but she’d just say “It tastes better in the sink.”) Typically, pork chops in the South were shallow fried or baked, often topped with a brown gravy with onions made from the fat from the chops.
Years later while researching Middle Eastern cooking I stumbled across a dish that sounded so interesting because olives, Years later, while researching Middle Eastern cooking, I stumbled across a dish that sounded so interesting because olives, lemons and turmeric weren’t something we’d combine during those times. (Lemon was something served with seafood, sweet tea or lemonade; olives were something for salads, pizzas, or cocktails; and turmeric(?) — we don’t know her!)
I should point out that in the Middle East, this dish would typically be made with poultry, lamb, goat, or beef. (Pork isn’t widely used, due to religious reasons.)
I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted this dish because of the brightness of the lemon, combined with the earthiness of the turmeric, and how well it played off the richness of the butter and the saltiness of the olives. Truly a great way to take a somewhat humdrum weekly dinner and change it into something mouthwatering.
Notice: The included does not contain the olives, but they will be included in the editorial re-shoot.
- 6 bone-in pork loin chops (boneless works too, but bone-in gives a better flavor.)
- 1 medium sized fresh lemon, unpeeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices with any seeds removed
- 3/4 cup white or yellow onion, sliced into 1/4 inch half moons
- 1/4 cup ripe black olives, brine drained
- 1/4 cup green olives, brine drained
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken stock (1/4 cup white wine and 1/4 cup chicken stock is lovely too.)
- 1/2 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour (optional, but you'll want to use a cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce at the end.)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- On a plate (or sheet pan) pour the flour into the center, salt/pepper to taste, mix and set aside.
- Dry your pork chops with a clean kitchen towel and place on another plate (or sheet pan) in one layer.
- 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 a slight shimmer when it's ready.) 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.
- Add the other 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauté pan, and allow to return to temperature. Toss in your onions and allow to sautée until the sugars in the onions start to brown slightly. Remove to the plate with your lemons.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deglaze the pan with the chicken stock, and then add the olives, lemon and onions and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- 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.
- Goes really well with quinoa and a tomato, cucumber, and cilantro salad.