Fennel-crusted pork chops with potatoes and shallots

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Fennel-crusted pork chop
Fennel-crusted pork chop

Photograph by Susan Puckett

This is my idea of a perfect cool-weather weeknight meal: hearty, healthy, and comes together in an hour with little clean-up. To go with it, I roasted a pound of Brussels sprouts—trimmed, halved, and tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper—in a separate pan alongside it for about 20 minutes. Watch carefully and shake the pan now and then; I like some dark, crispy leaves but don’t let them get too black. Depending on how big your pork chops are and how hungry you are, this will serve two to four.

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1-inch-thick bone-in pork loin chops (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)
½ to 1 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
2 large shallots, quartered, with some root attached
1/2 cup minced parsley leaves
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the fennel seeds in a small, dry skillet over medium heat and toast, stirring and shaking the pan often, until fragrant, 3 or 4 minutes. Let cool.

Grate the garlic cloves with a microplane into a small bowl. Stir in the fennel seeds, paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, 5 or 6 grindings of pepper, and 2 tablespoons oil. Place pork chops in a resealable plastic bag and add the spice mixture. Seal and turn the bag to coat thoroughly. Let sit at least 20 minutes, or refrigerate overnight.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and cook until golden brown on 1 side, about 4 minutes; turn. Add potatoes and shallots to the skillet; season with another ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt and a few more grinding of pepper and toss to coat in the pan drippings. Cook, tossing the potatoes and shallots occasionally, until pork is golden brown on second side, about 4 minutes.

Transfer both to the oven and roast until potatoes are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chops registers 135 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. (If potatoes need more time, transfer chops to a plate and continue to roast the potatoes until tender; transfer the chops back to skillet when potatoes are done.)

Remove the skillet from the oven and mix in the parsley and vinegar. Let the mixture rest 5 minutes in skillet.

If desired, transfer the chops to a cutting board; cut meat from bones and slice against the grain. Serve with the potatoes, shallots, and any pan juices. Or, serve the chops whole for heartier servings.

Recipe adapted from one by Alison Roman that ran in Bon Appétit in February 2014

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