â€˜Florentine’ is just a fancy way of saying that a dish has spinach in it. This wasn’t always the case as it referred to something being prepared in the style of cooking from Florence, Italy (still included spinach though!). And thus we have these quick one pan pork chops Florentine! We’ve really bastardized that term and, to be honest, I’m okay with it. I love spinach, but I find that it gets boring in salads and sometimes doesn’t offer the crunchy texture that I’m looking for in my greens.
So instead I threw a whole bag full in a creamy white wine sauce with lots of garlic, onions, roasted tomatoes (or sundried, if you’re extra fancy), and parmesan cheese. This sauce is really perfect for any meat, but would be great with chicken too. I happened to have pork chops on hand, so that’s what I went with. Whether you’re using chicken (especially breast) or pork chops, the brining part of the process is extremely important. Both of these meats are extremely lean and can dry out easily during the cooking process. If you’re unfamiliar with brining, it’s basically the process of adding moisture and flavor to leaner cuts of meat through osmosis.
At its simplest, a brine is just water, salt and sugar. As your meat sits in the brine, it absorbs liquid which flavors it from the inside out. When you go to cook it, it will be more difficult to dry out since it has stores of extra liquid. You can get fancy with the extra flavoring ingredients you add to the brine from garlic to chile peppers to herbs and so on. I have a really basic brine because I almost always have all the ingredients on hand. Don’t skip the brining step! If you have to, try and select pork chops with a little more fat, or skin on chicken thighs which won’t dry out as easily as chicken breast. This has been your meat cooking PSA.
During the week while I’m working and also trying to bang out recipes, take notes, photograph them, etc. I’m really more likely to opt for one pan meals that are easy to put together. Honestly, I know it’s the same for a lot of you busy folks out there. No one wants to slave over a stove for 2 hours on a Wednesday after working all day. This meal is quick, easy, reasonably healthy (low carb/keto friendly) and if you serve it with some veggies or a big salad, you’ve got a great meal ready to go. I hope recipes like this help make your week a bit easier! If you need step by step instructions, you can find the method in the highlights of my instagram here! I want to try and do a recipe from start to finish at least once a week!
This is a quick and easy one pan meal that feels fancy, but perfect for a weeknight dinner!
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 boneless pork chops, 1.5″ thick
- 4 brined pork chops, patted very dry
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (you can substitute 1/3 cup sundried tomato)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 10 oz bag baby spinach
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- To make the brine: dissolve sugar and salt in the warm water. Add cold water to cool the mixture down, add vinegar, peppercorns and bay leaves. Place pork chops in a gallon ziplock bag and pour the brine over the pork chops. Make sure all the pork chops are submerged by squeezing excess air out of the bag. Place the bag in a baking dish (in case there is a leak!) and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight. This is an optional step, but I recommend not skipping it as it really helps the pork chops stay juicy.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss cherry tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a light sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until lightly browned, about 30-35 minutes. Skip this step if you’re using sundried tomatoes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside.
- Remove the pork chops from the brine, taking care to brush off any peppercorns that are stuck, and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Discard the brine. Pat the pork chops VERY dry. This is important so that the pork chops get browned when we sear them. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (if you didn’t already for the tomatoes). Heat a large, oven safe saute pan or skillet (with at least 2 inch sides) over medium high heat. Add remaining olive oil and place pork chops in the pan. Once they’re in the pan, don’t move them! Let them sear on one side for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the pork chops over and sear for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer the whole pan to the oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the pork chops from the pan and set aside. Place the skillet over medium heat. Add butter, onions and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, working to scrape up any browned bits from the pan. Add the tomatoes and white wine and cook until most of the white wine has evaporated. Add the spinach and broth and cook until the spinach has wilted and most of the broth has evaporated. Add cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add parmesan and stir until melted. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Once the sauce is very thick, return pork chops to the pan and cook on low for 5 minutes. Serve warm!