One-pan meal: pork chops with mushrooms and spinach

One-pan simple and weeknight-quick, pork chops are browned, then finished in a braise of mushrooms, spinach, onion, tarragon, garlic and lemon juice.

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    Pork chops can be made quickly in a pan. First sear the meat, remove, then sautée the vegetables in the same pan. Add the pork chops back in and braise in the pan juices.
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We’ve been eating a lot of spinach lately. Sometimes in salads, but mostly quickly sautéed until just wilted with butter, olive oil, garlic and salt. Maybe a grind of pepper, if we remember. Eating spinach this way makes me sad that I spent my whole childhood hating it. So when I found myself with spinach, mushrooms, and pork chops the other day, I thought they needed to get cooked together.

If you enter the words pork chop spinach mushrooms on the Google, you get a ton of recipes for chops stuffed with spinach and mushrooms, held shut with toothpicks and baked. Which is perfectly fine, I’m sure, but I was looking for something more braisy. Also weeknight quick. This scored on both counts and was also quite good.

To that short list of chops, mushrooms, and spinach, I added oil, butter, an onion, garlic, tarragon, salt, pepper, water and, for a touch of brightness, lemon juice. I used boneless chops because that was what we had on hand. Bone-in chops would add even more flavor.

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Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Spinach
 Serves 4

4 pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, bone-in or boneless
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried tarragon, divided (sage would work, too)
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 ounce package baby spinach, lightly rinsed and shaken mostly dry
1/3 cup water
juice of 1 lemon (you could throw in the zest, too)

1. Season chops with salt, pepper and half of the tarragon, pressing lightly with your fingers to help it stick. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high flame. Let the pan get good and hot. I gingerly touch the rim of the pan with my fingertips – when that’s hot, so is your pan. Cook chops until nicely browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn chops, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate. No need to keep warm – they’ll go back in the pan.

2. Slice butter into pan, swirling to combine with oil. When foaming subsides, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. If the mushrooms have soaked up all the fat, drizzle in a little more oil. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it softens slightly, about 3 minutes. Clear a hole in the center of the pan and add the rest of the tarragon and the garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Toss everything together.

3. Add spinach in big handfuls, tossing to coat with oil and butter in pan. It will seem like a lot of spinach, but it quickly collapses. Cover pan with lid and let it cook for about 1 minute. The extra water from rinsing it will help it cook down. Add water and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper and toss everything to combine. Nestle chops into spinach mushroom mixture, cover pan and reduce heat to medium-low.

5. Cook until chops are just heated through and cooked to at least 145 degrees F., about 5 minutes, turning once to get lemony juices on both sides. Plate chops and spoon spinach and mushrooms alongside, spooning pan juices over chops. You’ll probably want another side, maybe some garlicky mashed potatoes, or Marion’s delicious kasha, which we had.

Related post on The Blue Kitchen: Six soup, stews and other fall comfort foods

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