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Pork Loin Chops with Apples and Onions. Sounds kinda fussy, doesn’t it? Reality: nothing could be further from the truth.
I must admit that loin chops are not always my first choice when it comes to pork. I like bone-in chops for most things, but if you’re in a hurry, loin chops are an easy shortcut. How long you cook them is more a matter of taste than safety – there is no more risk in eating medium-rare pork, than there is with beef. Loin chops are a lean cut, so too much cooking will dry them right out. If you don’t like your chops pink in the center, the apples and onions will help make this a succulent dish, even with a bit more cooking time.
That’s a great thing this time of year, when we’re all so busy, just trying to get through this month to Christmas. That is not such a huge problem for us these days, but I remember when December was a whirlwind of school and church activities, music lessons, play practices, shopping, mailing, decorating, gift wrapping, cookie baking, planning company meals and on and on.
I’m not nearly THAT busy these days, but I still have a bunch of cookies to bake and a stack of presents to warp.
So, quick delicious dinners are still always welcome, and this fits right in! It’s ready in under 30 minutes, takes just a handful of ingredients and eats like time-consuming luxury. I made it way more times than I needed to for recipe testing, because we loved it so much.
I think you will feel the same. So, here’s how it goes:
Pork Loin Chops with Apples and Onions
- 2 8 to 10 ounce pork loin chops 1 inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil
- 2 large firm apples
- 1 large onion
- 1/3 bundle of fresh thyme - leaves stripped from stems with a few sprigs saved for garnish.
- If needed, pound the chops to an even thickness. Salt and pepper each side generously, and set aside. You can do this up to 24 hours ahead of time - if leaving longer than 1 hour, cover and refrigerate, bring back out about an hour before cooking. They don't have to sit at all, but if you think of it ahead of time, it will ensure a juicier, more tender result.
- Prep your apples and onions: Peel them, and cut in wedges, cutting from top to bottom - make the onions wedges about half the size of the apples - about 12 slices from each apple, and double that with the onions. Set aside.
- Using a heavy skillet [cast iron is great], heat the butter and oil over high heat until the butter foams.
- Place the chops in the pan, and leaving the heat high, sear on each side until you have a nicely browned crust. Don't forget the edges - brown those too.
- Remove the chops to a plate, and set aside.
- There should be enough fat still in the pan, but you can add a bit more butter and oil if needed.
- Place the apple slices in a single layer, with the cut sides down. Distribute the onions over evenly.
- When one side of the apples is nicely browned, turn them over, stirring around the onions as well. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over.
- After a couple minutes, return the chops to the pan, nestling them down into the apples, with the first side you browned up. Cover the pan and cook about 5 minutes.
- If you like, you can check the pork with an instant-read thermometer. The center should be about 140º, though a little less is fine too. We like it on the pink side, but if you like it more well -done, cook it until it registers 145º.
- Serve with the apples and onions spooned over the chop, and a sprig of fresh thyme on top. A green salad and mashed winter squash are fine accompaniments. Refrigerate leftovers.
I’m 100% serious when I say this is one of the best things I’ve ever made – SO simple, gorgeous on the plate and like a warm, fall hug during dinner. Now, where did I put that scotch tape?
Here’s a link to my favorite kind of pan for this meal: 8 inch Cast Iron Skillet
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