Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops with a Brine Twist

This recipe is easy, delicious, dairy free, and quick. It even works with lean, boneless pork chops if you brine them first.Today’s recipe adds a slight twist to a tasty pork chop recipe that first appeared on the Gravel Road in October of 2014. A year ago, the pork chops used were bone-in, as you can see in the picture above. This time I wanted to clear out a few boneless pork loin chops from the freezer, but was worried that quick frying would make them to dry and tough.

So I placed the frozen chops in a brine of 2 cups water and 1/4 cup of pickling salt and let them sit all day–on the kitchen counter until they were thawed and then in the fridge until a 1/2 hour before supper. Then I poured off the brine, rinsed the chops several times, patted them dry, and followed the recipe below from then on.

The chops were as tender and moist as I’d hoped and as delicious as ever. This recipe is way too fast and easy for the taste punch it delivers. It’ll show up on our table several more times until grilling season arrives again!

Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops

2 cubes of frozen cilantro pesto, thawed  1/4 cup fresh pesto
4 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick each
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together. Sprinkle on pork chops and rub mixture in with fingers. Flip chops over and do the same on the other side.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook for 5–7 minutes on each side, turning once, until they are no longer pink. Serve chops with cilantro mixture.

Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops

Cilantro pesto pork chopGuess who’s back in the kitchen? Not only cooking again, but also looking for ways to use meat from our half of a hog purchased from our farmer son. The meat in our freezer and a craving for cilantro pesto prompted a “pork and cilantro recipes” internet search. It turned up a deceptively simple Better Homes and Gardens recipe for pan-seared pork chops with cilantro pesto.

I substituted cilantro pesto from my freezer instead of making it according to the original recipe’s directions. But the rest of the instructions were followed exactly. The pork chops were delicious enough to receive the coveted Hiram seal of approval. They received my seal of approval because they were tasty, as well as easy to make and a very fast meal to throw together.

Cilantro Pesto Pork Chops

2 cubes of frozen cilantro pesto, thawed  1/4 cup fresh pesto
4 1/2 inch thick, bone-in pork chops
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix the brown sugar and chili powder together. Sprinkle on pork chops and rub mixture in with fingers. Flip chops over and do the same on the other side.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook for 5–7 minutes on each side, turning once, until they are no longer pink. Serve chops with cilantro mixture.