Skillet Pork Chops with Rice and Parsley Butter

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With our schedules as hectic as they’ve been lately, I’ve not done a great job of getting dinner on the table.  We’ve certainly kept the local restaurants in business as of late.  You know it’s bad when my tiny man, who is normally a big fan of Chinese takeout, politely requests a ham and cheese sandwich over chicken with broccoli.  Or, when the husband comes upstairs after work and doesn’t ask what’s for dinner, but where we’re ordering from tonight.  So, in an effort to minimize complaining and save our budget and waistlines, I’ve been on a quest to find quick weeknight meals that are healthy and delicious.

One thing I always have on hand in the freezer is pork chops.  I always stock up when the local grocery store has the buy one get one free sales.  When I saw this recipe, I was intrigued.  On the table in 30 minutes AND the side dish is included?  Count me in!  This was such a simple dinner to make, and, much to my surprise, full of flavor and delicious!  Everyone enjoyed it, even baby boy who, up until two months ago, wouldn’t eat anything other than baby food and yogurt.  That’s a win in my book!

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 (6- to 8-oz) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a small bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the butter together with the parsley. Set aside.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine 1 cup of the chicken broth and the rice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 6-7 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed (note: all microwaves vary, so keep an eye and maybe check yours early just in case). Be very careful when you remove the plastic wrap from the bowl, the steam is super hot!

While the rice is cooking, pat the pork chops dry with paper towels. Cut two slits, about 2 inches apart, in the fat cap around the outside edge of each pork chop (this will prevent them from curling up as they cook). Season both sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Set a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When it’s melted and the pan is hot, add the chops. Brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes total. Remove the pork chops to a plate and tent with foil.

Add the final tablespoon of butter to the skillet and melt, then add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 6-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and thyme, cooking just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the rice and the remaining 1 1/4 cups of chicken broth to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, the nestle the pork chops and any accumulated juices in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook for 10-14 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the pork is cooked to your desired doneness (it should register at least 145 F on an instant read thermometer). Top the pork with the parsley butter when serving.

Source:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, orginially from Cooks Country, August/September 2011

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