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Sheet Pan Brown Sugar & Rosemary Pork Chops With Apple, Onion & Fennel

Let’s talk pork. Aside from bacon, I feel like it’s a bit of a forgotten protein. When I think up dinner recipes, my mind sort of automatically gravitates toward chicken, turkey, seafood or steak, but not pork. I’m not sure why that is, but I recently had an urge to make some pork chops, and boy have they got me thinkin’ up all sorts of ‘other white meat’ recipes at the moment! For this take on pork, I went with thick cut, bone-in chops, which were absolutely amazing and only reinforced my belief that bone-in meat really is the way to go for flavor and juice-factor. These chops were so tender and moist when they finished roasting, and I am definitely not an expert when it comes to preparing pork.

If you search the internet for pork chop cooking time, recipes and marinades, you might feel overwhelmed (I was). People have got A LOT to say about how to get perfectly cooked pork, and I found that most strategies involved a lot more work than I’m willing to put in to a weeknight meal. Between salt-brining, overnight marinating and the sear-before-you-bake method that seems to be the holy grail of pork preparation, I was feelin’ like I’d gotten myself into a dinner situation that I wasn’t really prepared for.

Thankfully, I’m confident in my ability to cook protein – I love grilling, roasting, baking, pan-searing and everything in between, and I know that sometimes, the best thing to do is just cook the damn stuff, so I did. I let it rest for about half an hour before I popped it in the oven, but aside from rubbing some herbs and brown sugar on it before I roasted it, I did very little to prepare to cook the chops. I didn’t marinate them, I didn’t brine them, I didn’t sear them before I baked them, and guess what? They were amazing. Sometimes, simple is best, and that was definitely true with this recipe.

They didn’t have the most incredible sear on ’em (due to the fact that I, well…didn’t sear them), but a few minutes under the broiler at the end of their time in the oven gave the brown sugar and rosemary rub just the blistering it needed to make the pork not only look good, but taste amazing. The onions, fennel and apple slices all cooked up right on the sheet pan at the same time and temp as the pork, and the only additional step I took to ensure that the meat was perfectly juicy was to add just a bit of chicken stock to the pan about halfway through the cooking time, which is a tactic I borrowed from my chicken-cooking skills and it transferred without a hitch.

I served these up with a decadent brussels sprouts gratin that you can get the recipe for here, but these chops would be great with some rice or even just as they are – the roasted onions and apples make for a great lil’ side dish, and thick-cut pork chops don’t require much of a side dish, anyhow – they’re pretty darn filling as they are.

Moral of the story: we can’t all be Julia Child in the kitchen – sometimes you’re gonna come up against a dish you haven’t made before and it’s gonna seem like you won’t get it right. My advice: stick with what you know. Not every dish requires you to perfect a new skill. In my experience, sticking with simple, straightforward techniques is the best way to guarantee good food and a fun experience in the kitchen. Here’s how I used my total lack of pork-cookin’ knowledge to make this delicious one-pan meal.

5 from 1 vote
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Sheet Pan Brown Sugar & Rosemary Pork Chops With Apple, Onion & Fennel

A one-pan meal that's hearty, delicious and on your table in well under an hour. 

Course dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword apple, comfort food, fennel, onion, pork, pork chops, roast pork, sheet pan meal
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 365 kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 Pork Chops {Thick cut, bone-in}
  • 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Rosemary {chopped}
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 Yellow or Brown Onion {sliced}
  • 1 Red Apple {sliced}
  • 1 Fennel Bulb {sliced}
  • 4-6 Whole Garlic Cloves
  • 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/3 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. While the oven preheats, combine the brown sugar, chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper and rub them on each pork chop (just one side).

  2. Slice the onion, apple and fennel into similarly-sized slices and arrange on a sheet pan. Dress with olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste. Nestle the pork chops on the tray with the veggies - I like to make sure no veggies are underneath the chops. Sprinkle the rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves across the tray. 

  3. Bake everything for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, add chicken stock. After 30 minutes, bump the temp to broil for an additional 3-5 minutes to caramelize the brown sugar and give the veggies a little char. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

My chops were about 1.5-2 inches thick. Adjust your cooking time for thinner or thicker chops, as necessary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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