Dinner tonight was really an exercise in the deliciousness of simplicity. Two boneless porkchops, quickly brined then seared in cast iron and finished in the oven, served with new potatoes roasted in duck fat.
There's no recipe for this post. Rather, a simple breakdown of how I got dinner on the table. Step one, make a quick brine of water, salt and molasses. Pop in your boneless chops. Since they are boneless and relatively small, you won't need much time for the brine to do it's trick, roughly a half an hour.
Pork and brine in a ziplock.
While that is soaking, place a roasting pan or sheet tray in your oven and preheat to 400 F. You want the oven and the pan very hot. Then, cut your baby potatoes into equal sizes and coat in duck fat, salt and pepper. I can get duck fat right in the grocery store, but if you can't, a lot of places sell it online. I used to order directly from Amazon. There is something about the way potatoes roasted in duck fat taste, I highly recommend it. If you don't have duck fat or you don't want to use duck fat, feel free to substitute olive oil.
Once the oven is preheated, your pan will be crazy hot. Dump the potatoes on the pan (they'll sputter and sizzle) then close the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes.
When you've got five minutes left, pull your chops out of the brine and onto a plate lined with paper towels. You want to dry them off so they'll get a beautiful sear. Pre-heat your cast iron skillet to medium high, then pop the chops in the pan and get them searing. That could be as quick as 1 minute per side, or much slower if your range isn't super powerful. Lucky for me, I've been using induction for searing meats, it is way better than my electric cooktop.
The molasses stains the chops a little brown.
Hot cast iron got that sear in less than a minute before it was time to flip.
By now your timer for the potatoes should be going off. Turn the oven down to 350 F, put your seared chops in their pan straight into the oven, and toss the potatoes just to make sure they are browning and you don't take them too far.
Here's where it can get tricky, you now want to finish the potatoes and the chops at the same time. For me, the magic number was 10 more minutes, then both were perfect. Depending on the thickness of your chops, it could take longer, or if they took longer to sear, it could be shorter. Just watch your potatoes, if you cut them small and they are done early, just take them out of the oven and loosely cover with foil (not tightly or steam will collect and you'll lose the crisp edges) until the chops are ready.
Check out the gorgeousness of these little spuds.
When everything is done, plate (I also added some simple corn on the side) and eat. So simple, but so satisfying. And might I add, quite delicious with a bottle of Pinot Noir.