one pork chop

One Pork Chop

When you’re cooking for one, it’s helpful to source ingredients in convenient (small) packages. This recipe for one pork chop does just that: start with one single pork chop, cook it simply, and eat something delicious that doesn’t take much work. Instead of grabbing a family-size package of chops, step up to the butcher counter and ask for one chop. Just one, thanks. One beautiful boneless chop, cut from the loin, about an inch thick.

This recipe will make a simple pan-seared pork chop, unadorned except for a nice sprinkling of salt and pepper. Yes, it’s plain, but there’s nothing at all wrong with plain when it’s good! Think about what you’d like to eat with your pork chop, and get that ready to go. If you’re roasting a potato (cut in chunks) for instance, start that in the oven, and by the time the pork chop is done, the potato will be nicely done as well. When the pork is cooked and resting, you’ll have time to cook your vegetables (I like to steam mine in the microwave.)

I recently read about a different method for cooking pork chops: this came from America’s Test Kitchen. They advise a cold start, then cooking the chop first over high heat, then on more moderate heat, and flipping the thing every two minutes until done. Why all the flipping, you might ask? It’s so that the chop will cook evenly from both sides. When you turn the chop while it’s cooking, the side that was in contact with the hot pan will still be hot, and it will radiate that heat downward through the meat. Meanwhile, the formerly cooler side is sizzling on that hot pan, and the heat radiates upward. That one pork chop turns out beautifully browned on both sides, and evenly cooked throughout. ATK published their recipe with a bone-in pork chop, but I found that a boneless chop will do very well

I have a gas stove at home. You might have an electric one, which means you can’t just ‘lower the heat’ on a burner. ATK points the way for us: simply use 2 burners. Start the pork chop on one, cold, and set it to high heat. At the same time, start a second burner to heat on medium. Cook 2 minutes, flip the chop, cook 2 minutes more on high. Then, flip again, but move the pan to the medium-heat burner, and continue on that one (of course turn off the 1st burner). Ta-da, that’s how you lower the heat instantly on an electric stove.

An important point: I use a meat thermometer. Do you have one? If you do not, I highly recommend the ThermoPop as a high-quality device that will last you for years. It takes the guess-work out of cooking meats.

one pork chop

One Pork Chop

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: serves one, single, pork, small batch
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1
Pan-seared pork chop for one -- may be doubled (use a larger pan).
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Ingredients

  • 1 8-10 oz boneless pork chop about 1 inch thick
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Take the pork chop from the refrigerator, and set it on a small plate. Pat it dry on both sides.
  • Make 3 cuts in the fat layer on the outside of the pork chop -- this is to prevent the chop from curling as it cooks.
  • Sprinkle the chop with salt and pepper and let it stand while you rustle up other components of your meal. I myself like steamed broccoli and maybe some roasted potatoes as go-withs.

For Gas or Induction Cooktop:

  • Place the pork chop in a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet (if you double this recipe, use a 10-inch skillet). Set the skillet over high heat and cook the chop for 2 minutes. Flip it, and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.
  • Now reduce the heat to medium. Flip the chop again, and cook another 2 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping the chop every 2 minutes, until the outside is nicely brown and the meat registers 140˚F, 10-15 minutes longer. Note that the chop should be sizzling; if it's not making any noise, increase the heat slightly. Definitely reduce the heat if the skillet starts to smoke.
  • Transfer the chop to a carving board. Tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. (This is a great time to microwave that veg, if you're planning to.)
  • Slice the chop and serve.

For an Electric Cooktop:

  • You'll use two burners if you're cooking on an electric stove: one burner on HIGH, and the second on MEDIUM. Start the pork chop in a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet (if you double this recipe, use a 10-inch skillet). Set the skillet over high heat and cook the chop for 2 minutes. Flip it, and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes.
  • Now move the pan to the medium burner, and turn the first burner off. Flip the chop again, and cook another 2 minutes. Continue to cook, flipping the chop every 2 minutes, until the outside is nicely brown and the meat registers 140˚F, 10-15 minutes longer. Note that the chop should be sizzling; if it's not making any noise, increase the heat slightly. Definitely reduce the heat if the skillet starts to smoke.
  • Transfer the chop to a carving board. Tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. (This is a great time to microwave that veg, if you're planning to.)
  • Slice the chop and serve.