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Calling All Cooks: Simplify supper with pork chops

By LISA ANDRUS-WELCH

For 2020 I’ve decided to simplify. That’s why I find myself smack dab in the middle of purging an overabundance of stuff, from clothing to home decor. I’d also like to simplify mealtime. That doesn’t mean I won’t still prepare long-simmering soups or the occasional baked good, but a few quick tasty suppers would be nice.

Actually, with the abundance of pork chops in my freezer, the result of last fall’s butchering, I’ve got what I need. Not only do I love pork chops, but they are a snap to cook. Pork chops lend themselves well to more than a few easy cooking methods. Pan-fried, braised, grilled, oven-baked or slow-cooked, the addition of seasonings, sauces or crumbs make them tender and simply delicious.

Let me sing the praises of pan-fried chops with mushrooms in a delectable wine and garlic cream sauce. Rich and satisfying, they go from pan to table in about 30 minutes. Rice, buttered noodles or mashed potatoes make the perfect accompaniment to this mushroom masterpiece.

Seared chops slow-cooked with onions in a sweet and sour glaze are tender and delicious – and super simple. You won’t believe how good they are.

Or jazz up plain pork chops with a simple thyme butter-garlic sauce. These brown in a cast iron skillet then finish in the oven alongside oven-roasted potatoes – simply divine.

Pork Chops in Mushroom Cream Sauce

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

5 T. butter, divided

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried thyme or rosemary

6 boneless pork chops

Salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 cup white wine

3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions: In large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute till nearly tender. Add garlic and thyme and continue to saute till mushrooms are tender. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium heat. Salt and pepper pork chops and arrange in single layer in pan. Pan-fry 2 minutes on each side to brown. Add wine to pan and continue to cook 6 minutes. Remove chops from pan.

Pour cream into skillet; add mushrooms. Raise heat to high and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, till sauce reduces and thickens slightly. (If a thicker sauce is desired, whisk 1 tablespoon flour into cream before adding to skillet. Continue to stir.) Return chops to pan to warm before serving. Serves 6.

Glazed Slow Cooker Pork Chops

1 T. vegetable oil

6 thick-cut boneless pork chops

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 small onion, sliced

Glaze:

3/4 cup apple cider or juice

2 T. brown sugar

2 T. cider vinegar

2 T. cornstarch

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Directions: Salt and pepper chops. In large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chops to pan and sear chops 2 to 3 minutes on each side till browned.

Lay sliced onion in bottom of slow cooker. Lay chops over onions. Whisk together all glaze ingredients and pour over chops. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours till tender. Remove pork from cooker. Serve with glaze. (If thicker glaze is desired whisk together more cornstarch and water and stir into glaze in cooker.) Season glaze with salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 6.

Garlic Butter Baked Pork Chops

4 loin bone-in pork chops, about 1/2 -inch thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 T. butter, melted

1 tsp. dried thyme or rosemary

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 375-degrees F. Season chops with salt and pepper; set aside. In small bowl mix together butter, thyme and garlic; set aside.

In large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add chops to pan and sear till golden, about 2 minutes per side. (If chops won’t fit in pan, sear in batches.)

If using an oven-proof skillet, brush garlic butter generously over chops and place in oven, otherwise transfer chops to a baking sheet or pan and brush butter mixture over chops. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or till internal temperature reaches 145-degrees F. Remove from oven.

Before serving, pour some of the butter sauce over pork chops. Serves 4.