I probably have pork chops at least once a month, and I love them, but similar to chicken, I’m always looking for new twists to make them a bit more exciting. In this recipe video I make a maple glazed pork chop, that takes me back to my New England days. With a rich maple flavor, this sauce lends a sweet and tangy spin to the standard chop.
RECIPE FOR MAPLE GLAZED PORK CHOP
- Pork Chops – I prefer the double cut; about 2 inches thick
- Brining Liquid – To brine the chops
- Maple Syrup – about a 1/3 of a cup
- Mustard – about 2 tablespoons whole grain or French mustard
- Chicken/Beef Stock – 1/2 cup
- Sage leaves 3-4
- Sherry vinegar – 2 or 3 tablespoons
Recipe Overview & Keys to Success
The most important aspect of this recipe is cooking the pork well. While the sauce is phenomenal, no matter how great the sauce, a tough, dry pork chop is going to be a tough dry pork chop. To make sure the pork is great, you should do three things:
- Buy good product: Thicker is better, because they are harder to overcook; and overcooking is bad
- Brine: I’ve found brining is a great way to add flavor and makes the meat more tender, it gives you a safety net that you should take advantage of
- Cook it right: For cooking, you want to make sure you get a good sear on both sides of the pork to develop that nice crust and flavor, but you also want to make sure you don't overcook the pork. Think medium not well done. If needed, get a meat thermometer; I cook my pork chop until they are about 140 in the center, then let them rest for about 5 – 7 minutes while I make the sauce
You’ll want to let the chops brine for 8 – 15 hours, so starting this in the morning before you go to work, or when you wake up is a great idea. One difference from my normal brine, is that for this recipe I'll substitute maple syrup for the sugar to let more maple flavor infuse deep in the pork.
Cooking the pork
- You’ll want to take the pork out of the refrigerator and the brine about an hour before you’re ready to cook them. This will allow them to dry off and come up to room temperature. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once you're ready to cook, put a pan on high heat and let it come up to temperature, before adding olive oil to the pan
- Lay in the pork chops to sear off one side, and let them cook for 4 – 5 minutes on that side. You may need to turn the flame down to med-high, but you still want the pan very hot, and want the pork to develop a nice sear. You shouldn’t be flipping, jostling or otherwise playing around with the chops at this time.
- Once that side is seared, flip the chop over and sear the other side for the same amount of time, again getting that side nicely seared.
- The pork chop, depending on thickness, should be about 80% cooked. Take the pan off the range and put it into a 400 degree oven, the pork should be done in another 5 – 6 minutes; but it may be less. Use the firmness of meat, or a meat thermometer, to take them off the heat when the internal temperature is 140 - 145.
- Wrap them in aluminum foil and let them rest
The Maple Glaze
- This maple glaze is not much different than any pan sauce that we’ve made in the past; we’re going to deglaze the pan with some liquid to get the fond off the bottom, add some flavorings and some stock and reduce it to sauce consistency
- The primary difference here, is the addition of so much sugar (which when heated can thicken fairly quickly, and become overly syrupy), so keep an eye on the reduction as it may go stiff pretty quick
- To make the sauce, once the pork is removed from the pan, put the pan back on the heat over a medium flame; add the sherry vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the fond
- Almost immediately you can add in the mustard, and the syrup, and let those simmer for a 1 – 2 minutes until well blended
- Add your stock and reduce by about half or until the sauce reaches the right consistency
- Because of the sugar content, the sauce should have a nice glossy finish to it, and get to the right consistency without adding butter – a step I normally take in a pan sauce like this.
- Add in the chopped sage leaves, stir them in, taste for salt and pepper, and season if needed. You’re ready to serve
I like to serve the chops whole and drizzle some of the sauce over, and around the chop directly on the plate. Because the sauce has nice, full sweetness to it, you may consider side dishes that provide a counter balance – savory roasted mushrooms, polenta, or green vegetables. You may also want to pair this pork chop with some sauteed rosemary apples or roasted brussel sprouts.