As more and more of my friends have mentioned to me that they are always searching for new things to make for dinner, I have decided to start posting one healthy recipe I make a week. Tonight, I happen to be preparing simple and delicious pork chops. Pork chops are something I have stayed away from since my childhood, until recently. I wasn’t a big fan of pork chop night as a child and when I became a teenager, I had decided they weren’t good for me to be eating anyway. Since living with my husband, I have found a new appreciation for “the other white meat” and have also learned that as long as the pork comes from a good source (I buy organic Pasteur fed, free-range pork from the farmer’s market) it is quite healthy! Pork has a high mineral content of Phosphorus, Selenium, Sodium, Zinc, Potassium and Copper. The two minerals which are present in good quantities are Iron and Magnesium. Pork is also highly enriched with Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Thiamin, Niacin, Riboflavin and Pantothenic Acid, just to name some of the health benefits. If raised properly, pork is leaner than it was once believed to be and is comparable to chicken.

Since I am not yet a cook-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl, I got the following recipe from one of my Food Made Fast recipe books from Williams-Sonoma titled, Weeknight. I have a bunch of these books because I love that they are simple to prepare, breaking the recipes down to 15, 20 or 30 minutes start to finish, and they take very few ingredients. Since I am usually only cooking for two, I also appreciate that they don’t produce enormous quantities (plus you can always cut the recipe by half) and particularly love that none of the meals call for sugar.

Herbed Pork Chops with Apples

Dried Sage, 1 teaspoon (tsp)

Dried Thyme, 1 tsp

Dried Oregano, 1 tsp

Dried Rosemary, ¾ tsp

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bone-in center cut pork loin chops, 4, each about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick (*I buy just 2)

Tart apples such as Granny Smith, 2, cored and cut crosswise into slices ½ inch (12 mm) thick

Canola Oil, 1 tablespoon (I prefer coconut oil for health benefits and flavor)

1.     Season the Pork Chops

In a small bowl, stir together the sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Season the pork chops on both sides with the herb mixture, patting it firmly into the meat. Place the chops on a large platter in a single layer and let stand for ten minutes at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to overnight (*Important note I have learned: always get meat to room temp before cooking so that it cooks thoroughly and evenly!)

2.     Cook the Pork

Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. Or, preheat a broiler (grill). I usually use the broiler but the grill is definitely a great way to go! When ready to cook, place the chops on the grill rack, or put on a rimmed baking sheet and place under the boiler. Cook, turning once or twice, until browned on the outside and barely pink inside, 8-12 minutes total. (My oven cooks slowly so you may have to adjust the time according to how efficient your oven is)

3.     Cook the Apples

When the chops are about half done, brush the apples slices with the oil (I prefer coconut oil but really any would work) and place them around the pork at the edges of the grill rack where the heat is less intense, or around the chops on the baking sheet. Cook, turning once or twice, until lightly browned and tender, 4-6 minutes total. Cut the apple slices in half, and serve along with the chops.

The book suggests serving with grilled or broiled broccoli florets,  but you can serve them however you like! The recipe is below. I am serving mine with carmelized onion and fennel along with roasted golden and red beets.

Broccoli Florets

Simply toss the florets with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then place in a grill basket, on a grill rack or on a baking sheet if broiling. Cook, turning once or twice, until tender-crisp and the edges are charred, for about 3-4 minutes. (I like to add some crushed red peppers for a little kick) Voila! A healthy way to eat pork and veggies, in just 30 minutes!

What’s your favorite way to prepare a pork chop???