Between homeschooling, co-op classes, sports activities, and other commitments, our weeknights are pretty industrious (read:frenzied). Quick and easy dinners is how I roll during the week, because I don’t have a lot of time for prep, and I’m already exhausted by the time dinner rolls around. In addition to all that, we very likely have to run somewhere else for the night.
Busy weeknights make the temptation to order take out or bring home a pizza almost irresistible. However, with a house full of food-allergic peoples, our take out options are severely limited.
In order to avoid the Take Out Trap, I have to have a variety of from-scratch dinners in my arsenal that taste good, and can be done in under 40 minutes. Pork Chops with Maple-Dijon Cream Sauce is one of those meals. The juicy pork chops are seared to perfection, finished off in the oven, and topped with a sweet and tangy cream sauce–add a big side of steamed vegetables, and dinner is done!
To make this easy weeknight dinner with big weekend flavor, gather: bone-on pork chops, unsalted butter, extra-virgin olive oil, maple whiskey (substitutes are outlined below,) onion, kosher salt, black pepper, dried thyme, Dijon mustard, and heavy whipping cream.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Dice a little onion, and then saute it over medium heat with a tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet, until soft.
Transfer the onions to the holding vessel of your choice.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Mix the olive oil with the remaining butter in the skillet.
Sear the pork chops until well browned on each side–about 3 minutes per side.
Finish the chops in the oven by baking them for around 12 minutes, flipping after 6 minutes, or until done to your liking. Remove the skillet from the oven, transfer the chops to a plate, tenting with aluminum foil to keep warm. Remove all but two tablespoons of pan juices from the pan.
The kind PR folks representing Crown Royal gifted a few of these cute little bottles Crown Royal Maple to me to play around with in the kitchen. Since I’m a little afraid of brown liquors, a whiskey cream sauce seemed like the perfect application. Cream tempers All.
If you can’t find Crown Royal Maple, or if whiskey just isn’t your thing, substitute apple juice for the whiskey.
Pour the CR Maple (or substitute), Dijon mustard, and heavy cream into the skillet, stirring well to combine.
Sprinkle in the dried thyme, and bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Reduce the heat to low, stir in the onions and warm for 30 to 40 seconds until heated through.
Serve the pork chops with a hefty spoonful of the cream sauce, and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley. Be prepared for a little busy-weeknight luxury that didn’t come out of take out box. I promise that you’ll be glad you made the effort.
For more easy weeknight meals, try:
Pork Chops with Maple Dijon Cream Sauce
Serves 4 to 6
4 one-inch thick cut, bone-in pork chops
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, divided
¼ C. diced onion
¼ C. extra virgin olive oil
¾ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. Crown Royal Maple whiskey (Apple juice OR 1 Tbs. regular whiskey + 1 Tbs. 100% maple syrup can be substituted)
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
¾ C. heavy whipping cream (or half & half)
¼ tsp. dried thyme
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on both sides of the pork chops; set aside.
Sauté onion with 1 tablespoon of butter in a heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet for about 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat, or until soft and beginning to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and hold in a small bowl until later.
Turn the heat up to medium high. Place the remaining butter in the pan with the extra virgin olive oil. Sear the pork chops until golden brown on each side—about 3 minutes per side. Turn off the stovetop, and place the skillet in the oven. Bake the chops in the skillet at 350 degrees F for 12 minutes, flipping the chops at mid-way, or until done to your liking.
Remove the skillet from the oven. Transfer the pork chops to a plate, tenting with aluminum foil to keep warm.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the juices from the pan. Set the skillet over medium heat on the stove top. Pour the Crown Royal into the pan, and allow to bubble for a minute. Stir in the Dijon mustard, whipping cream, and dried thyme, bringing the sauce to a boil. Continue to stir for two minutes while the sauce boils and thickens. Reduce the heat to low and stir in onions, heating until warmed through.
Spoon the sauce over the pork chops to serve. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.