This recipe incorporates bay in layers of flavor. The bay leaves contribute first to the pork marinade, are then incorporated in the cooking, and finally flavor the reduction sauce (if you use dried leaves). Be sure to start marinating the chops the morning of the day you want to serve this dish.
In a shallow dish, combine the lemon peel, pork chops, 3 Tbs. of the olive oil, and 4 of the bay leaves. (If you’re using dried leaves, reserve the fifth for the sauce). Rub the chops in the marinade to coat and put 1 bay leaf under each chop. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator 8 to 16 hours, turning the chops two or three times.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper, reserving the strips of lemon peel, setting a bay leaf on top of each chop. In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat the butter and remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the pork chops (bay leaf side down) and sauté to a deep ochre brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn them as they color, and brown the other side, another 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 5 to 7 minutes. To check if the chops are cooked, make a small incision in the center of one of the chops to peek at the meat—it should be light pink, not gray, when done.
Transfer the chops to a serving plate and pour off the fat in the pan, taking care to keep the juices in. Over medium-high heat, add the stock, half of the reserved lemon peel, and, if you’re using dried bay leaves, the remaining bay leaf. Boil, scraping up any browned bits from the pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce to about 1/3 cup. Remove from the heat and taste; the sauce should be full-flavored. Strain into a small serving bowl. Pour any accumulated juices from the chops into the sauce and stir to incorporate. Spoon the sauce over the pork and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately. Don’t eat the bay leaves.
nutrition information (per serving):
sat fat g
Photo: Amy Albert