Pork Chops with Fennel, Mushrooms, and Cress

I always like to finish cooking my pork chops in the oven, which means we haven’t had pork chops in over 6 months.  (The tiny kitchen in our rental didn’t have an oven, ‘member?) That’s a shame because my beau really loves his pork chops.  Now that we’re starting to get our kitchen unpacked, I wanted one of the first meals I cooked him to be pork chops.  I started googling recipes as my work day was wrapping up and accidentally left two internet windows open, therefore buying ingredients for two different recipes.  Not one to waste things, I combined the two recipes into one super recipe, making a few ingredient adjustments along the way.

Start by seasoning pork chops with salt and garlic powder.  Cook in a cast iron skillet (no oil/butter needed!) for 3-4 minutes per side.  Once it’s nice and browned, put the skillet into a 400 oven for 18 minutes.  Remove the pork chops from the pan and set them on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.  While they sit to the side, getting those juices all locked up, you’ll prepare your sauce/topping.  Sauté sliced fennel and sliced cremini mushrooms for about 5 minutes.  You’ll notice the pork left behind tons of nice brown bits so it’s time to deglaze the pan with about 1/2 c. chicken stock.  There is so much flavor in there that you’re now incorporating.  Let the stock come to a boil and rock out for 3-4 minutes (so it’s reduced by half).  Then add in a bag (or several large handfuls) of cress.  If you don’t have cress, arugula or spinach will work as well.  I also added fresh herbs (tarragon and basil) with the cress.  Let the greens wilt.  Meanwhile, cook up some brown rice.  (I used the microwavable steam-in-a-bag kind, which takes 4 minutes, so I started this step when I added the stock.  If you’re full-on cooking brown rice, you’ll want to do that step earlier.) . At this point, your pork will be ready to go, so slice it into strips.  Time to plate!  Place the rice on a long platter, top with the greens/mushroom/fennel mixture, add the strips of pork, sprinkle on some crumbled blue cheese, and finally garnish with some of the fennel fronds.

Pork Chops with Fennel, Mushrooms, and Cress4

I love that this whole meal came together in one pan and about 30 minutes.  It works really well over rice, but the greens actually provide a hearty base so you could go totally carb-free if you wanted.  Yes, there’s some cheese, but it’s pretty minimal so this is a supper you can feel really good about.  Honestly, this is the most satisfied I’ve been by a “healthy” meal in a while.  Guess that means I’ll be making it again.