Pork Chops with Cranberry-Maple Pan Sauce

by Tony Rosenfeld

Fresh cranberries color the sauce a vibrant red, and their tart edge is a perfect counterpoint to the sweet maple syrup.
Serves 4 (I just cooked two chops, but made the same amount of sauce.)

4 1-inch-thick bone-in pork chops (about 2-1/2 lb.)
2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp. cider vinegar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard

Pat the pork dry and season with 1 tsp. of the thyme, 1-1/4 tsp. salt, and 3/4 tsp. pepper.

Heat oil in a heavy-duty 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add pork chops and cook without moving until the pork is browned around the edges and easily releases when you lift a corner, 3 to 4 min. Flip the pork chops and continue to cook until firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into a chop close to but not touching the bone registers 140F, about 9 minutes.

Transfer the chops to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add the cranberries, chicken broth, maple syrup, cider vinegar, mustard, and the remaining 1 tsp. thyme to the skillet and raise the heat to medium high. Cook, whisking to incorporate the mustard and any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the cranberries soften and the liquid has reduced to a saucy consistency, about 7 minutes.

Return the pork chops and any accumulated juice to the skillet, turning to coat both sides. Serve the pork chops with the sauce.

From Fine Cooking #119, pp. 11