Alright, all cards on the table: I hate spinach. I have never found a way to eat it where I didn’t think it tasted like old socks. Being the great wife that I am though, when I saw the picture of golden brown, Parmesan crusted pork chops nestled in a bed of creamed spinach, I knew it was something Bo would love, so I sucked it up an made it. Then I got one of the shocks of my life: I loved it. Not even a hint of old socks, so now I’m just convinced that whenever it had been made for me before, they were doing it wrong (sorry Mom and Nana). Honestly, maybe that’s part of the difference between using fresh instead of frozen, but I haven’t cooked it often enough to know for sure.
So, what is this exactly? Well, most importantly, it’s a nice and quick meal that cooks up in one pot. This means it’s great for a week night dinner when you’re in a rush. It’s just some boneless pork chops that get nestled in a bed of lightly creamed spinach (I say lightly because it’s a 2 to 1 stock to cream mixture that I really liked the flavor of), that’s started on the stove and finished in the oven, in the same pan. I almost left out the delicious crust of Parmesan cheese. Yeah, you can see how this was a winner.
No credit to me though for this recipe, it’s from “America’s Test Kitchen – Simple Weeknight Favorites”. They actually sent me this book about 6 months ago when I was part of an online chat, and I’ve got to say, every recipe I’ve made from it has turned out fantastic! I highly recommend it.
Alright, lets get to the recipe!
Here’s your cast of characters: fresh baby spinach, olive oil, whipping cream, chicken broth, salt, pepper, nutmeg, garlic, shallots, Parmesan cheese, and boneless pork chops.
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, oven safe pan set over medium-high heat.
Add about a third of the spinach, enough that your pan is pretty full, but you can still toss it around without making a mess.
Cook it down until it’s completely wilted. Now just keep adding fresh spinach until it all looks like this.
Here’s what three full pans of fresh spinach looks like all wilted down.
Throw the spinach in a colander and press out as much of the water as you can.
Now give it a quick, rough chop.
Then, you can put it pack in a colander to get the rest of the water out, but I found that it was a lot easier and faster to split it into two halves and squeeze it out in a clean dish towel. Let the spinach cool a bit first though.
Ok, get your pork ready to go now by cutting the boneless rib sections in half lengthwise, and salt and peppering them on both sides.
Heat up a bit more olive oil until shimmering.
Now add half of the pork to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2.5 minutes per side. Remove the chops to a plate, and repeat with the second half of them.
Here’s the finished plate of chops
Now, don’t touch that pan!
Toss in the shallots and cook for a few minutes until softened.
Tossing those shallots around with a wooden spoon will get most of that brown, baked on goodness, up. Once the shallots are soft, toss in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
Stir in the flour.
Now slowly whisk in the chicken stock, and then the cream.
Get it bubbling and add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
You leave it to simmer for about 5 minutes, until it’s thickened up enough to stick to the back of a spoon.
If you run your finger through it, it shouldn’t drip through the run.
Now, toss in a third of the grated Parmesan cheese, and the spinach.
Mix it all up.
Nestle in the cooked pork chops.
Then take a spoon and cover the tops of the chops with the spinach mixture.
Evenly sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and toss it in the oven for 15 minutes.
Here it is out of the oven, golden brown and bubbling.
And here she is on the plate! Bo requested some mashed potatoes to go along with it, and he was right. They were fabulous with some of the spinach sauce on top.
Here’s your printable:
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 16 oz fresh baby spinach
- 1½ lbs boneless country style pork rib chops, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 tbsp flour
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- pinch ground nutmeg
- 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
- Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF with a rack in the middle position.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add a third of the spinach, and cook down, stirring constantly, until completely wilted. Repeat twice more until all the spinach has been cooked down. Turn off the heat and remove the spinach to a colander and press down with a wooden spoon to remove as much water as possible. Roughly chop the spinach on a cutting board, then transfer, in two batches, to a clean kitchen towel to wring out the rest of the water. Set aside the dry spinach.
- Pat the pork chops dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add another tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add half of the chops and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chops.
- Add the shallots to the now empty pan and cook, stirring constantly, until softened. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the flour.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, and then the heavy cream. Add ¼ tsp of salt, ¼ tsp of pepper, and the nutmeg, and simmer until the mixture is thickened, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in
- ½ cup of the Parmesan cheese, along with the spinach.
- Nestle the pork chops into the spinach mixture, then use a spoon to cover the top of the chops with the spinach mixture too. Sprinkle on the remaining 1 cup of Parmesan cheese. Place the skillet in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the spinach mixture is bubbling.
Recipe courtesy of:
America's Test Kitchen "Simple Weeknight Favorites"