Fennel

How Crispy Sheet-Pan Pork Chops Made It on My All-Star Dinners List

Versatile, simple, and oh-so delicious.

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May  1, 2019

We're partnering with Miele to help you Cook Smarter with simple yet delicious recipes where the technique makes all the difference. Here, we're making perfectly cooked pork chops using one of our favorites: the sheet-pan method.

A triple threat—aka a miraculously talented being who can act, sing, and dance all extremely well—might be a rarity in show business, but it's even harder to come by in the world of recipes. Finding a dish that works for a weeknight dinner and dinner parties, is simple in both its technique and ingredients list, and actually tastes good is like finding my favorite brand of oat milk in stock at the grocery store: more thrilling than it probably should be, but thrilling nonetheless.

My list of these elusive dishes is, unsurprisingly, short: Martha Stewart's macaroni and cheese (I've never met anyone who isn't a fan); Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce; Nigella Lawson's genius chicken and peas traybake; and Emma Laperruque's five-ingredient lemon bars I can never eat just one of.

I don't add to the list often, but it should come as no surprise that our co-founder Amanda Hesser would have a recipe to make the cut: sheet-pan pork chops with caramelized fennel and garlic-lemon butter.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

"It’s a great springtime dinner dish," says Amanda, "but also I think it has enough complexity and is beautiful enough to serve for a dinner party, or even for a crowd."

Ultimate dinner versatility? Check.

As for its simplicity, well, this dish calls for just a handful of ingredients that aren't too difficult to come by. You can even swap in different vegetables if you can't find (or don't like) fennel. "You could totally do carrots," Amanda tells me. "You could also throw in some fresh peas. And if you wanted to make it a heartier dish you could add potatoes."

The sheet-pan method is also very straightforward, though Amanda points out there are a few tips you should keep in mind to make sure the whole thing comes out perfectly cooked. For starters, "don't overcrowd your sheet pan," she explains. If you do, the vegetables might get mushy—not crispy. The pork chops, though, you'll want to give a good sear in a cast-iron pan on high heat before you finish them off in the oven. That deep caramelization the cast iron gives the pork chops (or any meat really, Amanda adds) makes dirtying the extra dish well worth it.

And for the taste? Hmm, let's see. Thick pork chops with beautifully browned edges and tender meat? Oven-caramelized fennel with crispy edges? A garlicky, lemony butter sauce that makes the most of those browned bits stuck to the bottom of the cast iron? Yep, I'd say it checks alllll the deliciousness boxes.

As if that weren't enough, this recipe gets extra credit for its adaptability in the leftovers department. "I would thinly slice the pork or cut it into small cubes, and then I would pick arugula or some kind of spicy green base, and make a salad," says Amanda. Avocado and a creamy dressing would fit in nicely here, too. Those extra fennel fronds shouldn't go in the trash can, either. "They'd be great in a tuna salad or a chicken salad for your lunch," she adds; you might even use them to make a pesto or vegetable stock.

But while all these ideas sound great in theory, I'd be surprised if you end up with any leftovers at all. Because with a triple-threat recipe like this one, it's hard not to finish off the entire thing in one fell swoop.

Do you have a triple-threat recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

We've partnered with Miele to highlight one of our all-star dinner recipes: sheet-pan pork chops! The sheet-pan method is even simpler with Miele's M Touch Wall Oven and Wireless Precision Probe, which keeps a close eye on the meat's temperature to ensure even cooking, every single time.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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Erin Alexander is the Assistant Editor of Partner Content at Food52, covering pop culture, travel, foods of the internet, and all things #sponsored. Formerly at Men’s Journal, Men’s Fitness, Us Weekly, and Hearst, she currently lives in New York City.

2 Comments

Scott B. June 27, 2019
This is pretty silly. The vast majority of people don't have an expensive Miele range. Just say it's a commercial for Miele.
 
Janet M. June 23, 2019
This recipe looks spectacularly good--but how do I make it in an ordinary stove. My oven doesn't have bursts of steam, a wireless probe, etc. Pork chops tend to dry out very easily. Help. This recipe looks more like a commercial for a very expensive oven than a recipe that can be recreated successfully by a home cook.