Last night as we were eating dinner, Connor so sweetly reminded me of a time in my life when I refused to cook meat.
We call those the dark ages.
I didn’t just refuse to cook meat, I was terrified of it. It wasn’t even that I found it unpleasant to touch raw meat, I just had no idea how to properly cook it. And if you know me, you know that I hate (maybe more than anything) not knowing how to do something. Especially if that something is actually something I want to do and should know how to do. So, in true Cait form, I avoid these things at all costs.
Therefore, I didn’t even buy meat during the dark ages (with the exception of summer sausage and hard salami) until I moved in with my husband a few years ago.
And even then I went through a weird phase where I thought I only liked chicken and seafood. I mean, I lived in Nebraska for six years and thought I hated steak the entire time. I was basically the worst.
Eventually, my husband helped me reevaluate my life and steered me into the unknown world of roasting, barbecuing, pan frying and searing (fly butterfly, fly). And now, not only do I happily eat all of the meats, I even find myself craving steak, heavy on the rare.
Yet another reason why I love my husband. Also, because he told me how delicious these pork loin chops were even though I overcooked them. But I make mistakes so you don’t have to. See? We’re all #winning.
Pan Seared Pork Loin Chops with Potato Wedges and Chipotle Lime Mayo
Makes: 2 Servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes to 1 hour
For the Fries:
- 2-4 baking potatoes, washed--We use 4 so there’s leftovers!
- Olive oil
- Seasoning of your choice–I’ve used seasoned salt, garlic salt or a mix of cilantro, garlic, and chili powder
For the Pork:
- 3 cups cold water, divided
- 3 TBSP kosher salt
- 1 TBSP garlic
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1.5-2 lb pork loin chops
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Mayo:
- 1 egg–make sure it’s at room temperature!
- 1 TBSP lime juice
- 1-3 tsp chipotle chili powder–I used two and thought it could have used some more spice… but I tend to say that a lot.
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp granulated garlic
- 1 TBSP chopped cilantro
- ¾ cup olive oil
- Prepare a brine for your pork chops: bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add salt and optional seasonings and stir until salt is dissolved. Add the remaining 2 cups of cold water to bring the temperature of the brine down. Place the pork in a shallow dish and pour the brine on top. If the brine doesn’t fully cover the chops, add additional water and salt (1 cup of water to 1 TBSP salt). Store covered in your refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425° F. Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut into wedges or fries–fries seem to work better for larger potatoes since the wedges end up being way too big.
- Place into a large mixing bowl, toss with olive oil and seasoning.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with tin foil and spread out wedges evenly. Cook for 40 minutes.
- When there’s about 10-15 minutes left on the potatoes, place an empty cast iron skillet in the hot oven to heat.
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator and place on a cutting board, patting down with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Rub both sides with olive oil then season with salt and pepper.
- Once the potato wedges are finished, remove from oven and reset temperature to 400° F.
- Using oven mitts, remove the hot skillet from the oven and set it over medium-high heat on the stove. Note: You might want to turn on the oven vent for this next step!
- Sear the pork chops by placing them in the hot skillet. Sear until sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Flip and sear the other side.
- If you have thick pork chops, continue to cook in the oven at 400* for 6-10 minutes. Make sure to check in at 6 minutes or you might overcook them. My pork chops were on the thin side, so we probably just needed to sear them.
- Remove from heat, cover with foil and let rest for 3-5 minutes.
Making the Mayo:
- Make sure your egg is at room temperature otherwise this will not work. If you’re tight on time, fill a bowl with hot water and place the egg in for 5-10 minutes.
- In a mason jar or glass measuring cup (I use a 2-cup size) add in all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. Blend using an immersion blender.
- Once well blended, add the oil in AS. SLOW. AS. POSSIBLE. while continuing to blend.
- Store in a mason jar or Tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week.
The real star of the show is this mayo. I could eat it on almost everything, I love it so much. I would probably add some extra chili pepper to give it a little extra kick, but it’s your world. You do you, boo.
I’m typing this as I devour the remnants of a bag of raw hazelnuts (Trader Joe’s, duh), which is fitting since today is my last official day of Whole30. And like I’ve said, it really wasn’t that bad. Minus the wine.
But this will not be my last compliant recipe because I honestly do think all-natural, unprocessed, REAL food is the way to go…but reality is balance. Therefore, I don’t feel bad about all of the wine and Girl Scout Cookies I plan on consuming tomorrow (they’ve been sitting untouched FOR A MONTH).
I’ve earned it.