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pork chops and veggies in skillet
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5 from 8 votes

Cast Iron Skillet Pork Chops (with veggies and apples)

Cast iron skillet pork chops is an easy and quick weeknight meal made in one pan with apples, veggies, thyme and a light sauce. Simple, yummy comfort food.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time12 mins
Total Time22 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 3
Author: Cheryl

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in pork chops, room temperature, Note 1 (about 2 pounds/0.9 kg)
  • seasoning: kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder (or 2 tablespoons pork rub)
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil or olive oil, divided (plus a bit more if needed)

Brine ingredients (optional)

  • 4 cups water, 4 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon sugar. Extras if you like: 1 garlic clove, 1 tablespoon fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)

Vegetables/Fruit, Note 2

  • 1 apple, sliced e.g. Cortland · Empire · Fuji · Gala · Golden Delicious · Granny Smith 
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed of woody ends, cut into 2-3 inch/5-8 cm pieces (about 1 lb/450 grams)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, cut into pieces
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped

Light Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) chicken broth, Note 3
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary

Instructions

  • Note on total cooking time: The time for this recipe will increase if: a) you choose to brine the pork chops (recommended for great flavor), b) you are using thicker pork chops and c) you need to cook the pork chops in two batches.
  • BRINE PORK CHOPS (OPTIONAL): Place brine ingredients in a large zipper locked bag. Massage for a few seconds to dissolve salt and sugar. Add pork chops. Seal and brine for 1-2 hours in the fridge (even 30 minutes if chops are thin). Let them sit on the counter for the last 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Remove pork chops, rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
  • PREPARE SAUCE MIXTURE: Mix together all sauce ingredients in a measuring cup or small bowl. Set aside.
  • SAUTE PORK CHOPS: Season chops with salt, pepper and garlic pepper (use less salt if chops were brined). Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Sauté pork chops in hot pan for 2-3 minutes per side (or a bit more if chops are thicker) until internal temperature reaches 140F/60C using a meat thermometer. (If too smoky, reduce to medium heat). Pan fry pork chops in two batches if pan is not large enough. Remove pan-fried pork chops to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • SAUTE VEGETABLES/APPLES AND MAKE SAUCE: Add a teaspoon or two more oil if needed. Add onions, peppers, apples and asparagus to pan and stir. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and vegetables/apples are tender (they don't have to be soft). Add sauce mixture and stir for a minute, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Sauce will thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add pork chops to warm through. If pork chops are thicker and not quite done (some pink is fine), cover and finish cooking for a 2-3 minutes. Spoon sauce and vegetables on top. Serve immediately with rice, noodles or potatoes if desired.

Notes

  1. Pork chop options:
    • Type: I prefer bone in chops, particularly rib chops (fattier and more flavorful). Center cut pork chops and pork loin chops (leaner) are good too. Or use boneless pork chops. Here's a pork chops cut guide to help you choose.
    • Thickness: Thinner chops will take less time to cook, but can easily dry out if you cook them too long. For this recipe, I like to use chops 1/2-3/4 inch/1.8-1.9 cm), but thicker pork chops up to 1.5 inches/3.8 cm are fine if you cook them longer. 
    • Substitute: If you don't eat pork, you can make this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pound to an even 1 inch/2.5 cm thickness)
  2. Vegetable options: Use what you have on hand. Mushrooms and cauliflower are good alternatives. Or fresh spinach added at the end to wilt, once chops and sauce is ready. 
  3. Broth: I use an undiluted chicken broth for extra flavor like Campbell's full strength broth in a can. Alternatively, use a chicken broth base (Better than Bouillon is excellent) with water, adding a little extra base than the instructions call for. 
  4. Shortcuts
    • skip the sauce
    • use onions and apples only
    • use thinner pork chops that will cook more quickly
    • skip the optional brining step (if you really don't have time).
  5. Make ahead and store: 
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
    • Reheat in a microwave on medium-low power for 3-4 minutes or until warmed through.
    • Freeze for up to 2-3 months.
 
Nutrition Values are estimates for bone-in pork chops and do not include optional brining which would increase sodium/salt value. 
Calories: 512kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 72g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 211mg | Sodium: 1395mg | Potassium: 1651mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2434IU | Vitamin C: 65mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 6mg