Seared Butter Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Onions

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Thanksgiving is this week, but to be honest I just can't get into any of the festivity right now. This has never been my favorite holiday. It's sandwiched smack dab in the middle of happy-haunted Halloween and oh-so-cozy Christmas, with Nate and three of our kids' birthdays peppered in between. November requires serious self-discipline for us to keep holiday hecticness at bay. So the whole turkey-and-stuffing-and-gravy situation is one thing I started phoning in awhile back to save my sanity.

The important thing is that the family has a season filled with warmth and love, without letting the drive for pomp and formality overtake the spirit of the day.

Seared butter pork chops with brown sugar onions

All that to say that if I see another turkey recipe right now, I'm going to lose my giblets.

For anyone else feeling the same way, I'm shaking things up today with a bird of a different feather! Or a mammal of a different…uh…manner. Tender meat and bright, leafy greens cook up in this easy stovetop meal that requires no delicate placement or fancy footwork. Just a wholesome, filling platter that leaves you with less dishes and more time to spend with the family.

Seared Butter Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Onions

Seared Butter Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Onions
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


Butter Pork

  • 2 medium boneless pork chops
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 T butter
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper

Caramelized Brown Sugar Onions

  • 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 3 T butter
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper

Kale & Swiss Chard

  • 1 1/2 lb Red Russian Kale, cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 lb Swiss Chard, cut into strips
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 cups water


Butter Pork

  1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over med-high heat.
  3. Sear pork chops for 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the pork chops over using a pair of tongs (do not pierce meat with a fork) and sear for 3 more minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low and cook pork chops 10-15 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads between 145° F (medium rare) and 160° F (medium).
  6. Allow pork chops to rest for 5 minutes.

Caramelized Brown Sugar Onions

  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Add onions and cook until slightly brown on the bottom.
  3. Turn onions, reduce heat to low, cover skillet and continue to cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and allow the liquid to cook off.
  5. Add brown sugar and mix well until semi-dark brown and soft.
  6. Set aside until ready to serve.

Kale & Swiss Chard

  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium stock pot over high heat.
  2. Add Red Russian Kale and Swiss Chard to boiling water, then cook for 5 minutes on high heat.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, until tender.
  4. Remove from stovetop and pour off water.
  5. Toss with oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve.
Seared butter pork

I had a dear friend in high school who was an incredible cook while I…well…floundered a bit in the kitchen. I asked him for some tips and I'll never forget the biggest piece of advice he passed on. “When in doubt,” he said, “butter. Just add a whole lot of butter!” Butter has since been my go-to recipe resuscitator for everything from meat to rice to pastries. I was never a big fan of pork until I tried dousing it in a big bunch of butter.

Game changer.

Brown sugar onions

Onions are another one of my kitchen standbys that always help to punch up the flavor. They're perfect for serving alongside a relatively neutral dish that needs to be kicked up a notch. Pork definitely requires some contrast (that's why so many people serve it with applesauce) and I feel like sweet onions do the trick in a way that's interesting and unexpected.

Swiss chard and kale with pork

Finally, greens! Greens don't get enough of the spotlight this season, but there are plenty of excellent options to add some color to the table during fall and winter. Kale actually grows tastier leaves after the first frost, so it's an even better bet in December than it is in July.

Seared butter pork chops with brown sugar onions

Have you ever made butter pork chops? How does your family shake up the tried-and-true holiday traditions and do things your own way?


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