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These juicy, flavorful Tuscan Smothered Pork Chops bring Italian flair to a classic Southern comfort food! A quick brine keeps these chops super moist, and the creamy herb & garlic Parmesan “gravy” loaded with onions, tomatoes, and spinach will have your family asking for this meal every week.
My husband is not a pork chop guy.
Now, don’t get me wrong – he’s Dominican, so he LOVES pork in general. He just prefers it in the form of pernil. Or bacon…man, he can eat some bacon.
Even my best pork chop recipes fall on deaf ears when it comes to him, but I have always been a fan – especially since I learned the secret to keeping them juicy EVERY TIME.
JUST TAKE ME TO THE TUSCAN SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS ALREADY!
If you’d rather skip my (pretty darn helpful) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this deliciously easy smothered pork chops recipe, just scroll right on down to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card!
Juicy, tender, bathed in deliciousness.
That’s right, folks. Smothered pork chops. Once you try this easy pork chop recipe, you’ll never make chops the same again!
With the fall leaves starting to hit the ground, and that slight chill in the night air, I can’t think of a better meal to put on my plate than these pork chops!
Whenever you cut into a pork chop, you want a juicy, tender, and slightly pink center to sink your teeth into, right?
Unfortunately, we’ve all had to endure trying to chomp through tough, dry, chewy pork chops. But why?
Why are pork chops so often tough?
Since pork chops are such a lean cut of meat, they cook very quickly and are prone to overcooking; and we all know how overcooking meat can lead to chewing on a rubber hockey puck!
One of the reasons pork chops overcook easily is because of something called carry-over cooking. This is when your food retains heat even after removing it from the heat source and continues to cook.
To prevent this from causing your succulent pork chops to overcook and become tough, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Remove your chops from heat when they’ve reached ~140 degrees Fahrenheit. Tent them with foil as the rest, and the residual heat will continue to bring the chops up to temperature.
Now your juicy smothered pork chops will stay just the way you like them – moist & juicy!
So WHAT’S THE SECRET?? How do you keep pork chops tender?
There are many ways during the cooking process to help ensure your pork chops are pleasantly tender. But one of the most reliable ways to tenderize your pork chops actually happens before they hit the heat – brine them!
Brining pork chops is similar to marinating and results in a moist, tender product. A brine consists of a simple salt water solution, that you can add herbs and spices to if you want. You just soak the meat in the brine for a period of time – anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours (depending on what you’re brining). The salty water tenderizes the tough muscle fibers, breaking them down and resulting in nicely cooked meat every time.
Once you’ve brined, seasoned, and cooked your Tuscan pork chops, let them rest for at least 3 minutes to allow all of the moisture to fully absorb into the meat.
If you cut your pork chops too early, the juices you have acquired from brining and cooking may not set into the meat, and you could end up with a dry product.
What minimum temperature do pork chops need to be cooked to?
Nobody wants to get sick! To avoid foodborne illness, cuts of meat such as pork steaks, roasts, and pork chops should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your pork chops before you remove them from heat. Once you’ve finished cooking your Tuscan smothered pork chops to the appropriate temp, be sure to let your chops rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting into the meat.
What sides go best with pork chops?
These amazing Tuscan smothered pork chops are a juicy, savory dish that pairs well with just about any side!
Pork is just one of those incredible dishes that can be served alongside other savory foods, or can be complemented by acidic flavors as well. Try serving these yummy chops with stuffing or dressing, wild rice, roasted squash, or your favorite potatoes.
Or, give some of our sensational sides a try!
- Warm German Potato Salad
- Lemon Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
- Skillet Baked Mac n Cheese
- Citrus and Strawberry Spinach Salad
- Crock Pot Baked Potatoes
Now, to cook these delicious smothered pork chops to perfection on the stove, you’ve gotta brine them first!
Mix room temperature water and salt in a large bowl until it’s completely dissolved, then place your pork chops in the brine and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
After brining, remove the chops from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels, and season them to taste with seasoning salt and pepper.
How to Make Smothered Pork Chops
Grab your favorite large skillet and melt some butter & olive oil together over medium-high heat until it’s nice and bubbly. Add the pork chops to the skillet and sear them for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until they’re just golden brown (if your skillet isn’t big enough, do this part in batches). Transfer the pork chops to a plate and keep them covered and warm with some foil or a pot lid.
Now for the smother! Reduce the heat to medium and melt one more pat of butter. Stir in some sliced onions and a pinch of salt. Saute them for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until they’re softened and translucent. Add in some garlic (the more the better!) and stir it around for 30 to 45 seconds until it’s nice and fragrant, then stir in some freshly diced tomatoes.
Cook everything for 2 to 3 minutes until the tomatoes are slightly softened. Add a few handfuls of spinach and wilt it for about 2 minutes. Whisk in some heavy cream and plenty of fresh (or dried) herbs and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and stir in a generous amount of grated Parmesan. Allow it to simmer, stirring frequently, until it’s all melted and thickened. Finally, return the pork chops with their juices to the skillet. Continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the thickness of your chops) until the pork is completely cooked through and has an internal temperature of between 140 and 145 degrees F.
Don’t forget to allow the chops to rest in the skillet for a few minutes – then garnish them with parsley or other fresh herbs and serve.
LOOKING FOR MORE PORK RECIPES?
- Slow Cooker Pork Chops & Vegetables
- Boneless Pork Chops with Caramelized Apples
- Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
- Nana’s Pork & Sauerkraut
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS:
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Tuscan Smothered Pork Chops
- 4 cups warm water
- ¼ cup kosher salt plus more for seasoning
- 4 thin-cut boneless pork chops 1/2-inch thick
- ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups fresh tomatoes diced
- 6 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ tablespoon fresh oregano chopped
- ½ tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Place water in a large mixing bowl and mix in salt until dissolved. Allow to come to room temperature, then place pork chops in brine and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Remove chops from brine, pat dry with paper towels, and season with seasoning salt and pepper.
- Heat oil and 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter is melted.
- Add pork chops to skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. If skillet isn't big enough, cook the pork chops in batches. Transfer to a plate and keep covered.
- Reduce heat to medium and melt remaining butter. Stir in sliced onions and a pinch of salt.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, then stir in tomatoes. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tomatoes are softened. Add spinach and cook 1-2 minutes, until wilted.
- Whisk in heavy cream and herbs and bring to a boil. Add Parmesan and simmer, stirring frequently until melted and thickened.
- Return pork chops and juices to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until pork is completely cooked through. Remove from heat; garnish with parsley and serve.