Pork Chop au Poivre

published Feb 12, 2024
Pork Chop au Poivre Recipe

This peppercorn-crusted pork chop is a new take on the classic French dish.

Serves2 to 4

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

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overhead shot of pork chop au poivre, partially sliced on a grey plate with fries.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

The French have a way of turning simple ingredients into elegant dinners. That’s why I always turn to French cuisine when I’m serving a romantic meal at home. This recipe is inspired by the classic French bistro dish, steak au poivre, but instead of splurging on a steak, I’m serving a pork chop instead. 

Here, thick bone-in pork chops encrusted with crushed peppercorns are reverse seared (that just means they start in the oven and finish on the stovetop). The pork is tender, juicy, and finished with a creamy Cognac sauce. I’d put this up against any restaurant meal, it’s that good. 

Key Ingredients in Pork Chop au Poivre 

  • Bone-in pork chops: This recipe works best with really thick — 1 1/2-inches-thick — bone-in pork chops. Rib chops are preferred because the meat is tender and it’s easy to slice around the bone. If your chops are thinner, start checking their temperature to avoid overcooking. (Our handy guide to buying pork chops can clear up any questions you may have at the meat counter.) 
  • Whole peppercorns: A mix of colored peppercorns gives this pork chop great flavor, though black peppercorns can also be used. Coarsely crush the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or with a meat mallet, rather than using a pepper grinder.
  • Cognac or brandy: Deglaze with Cognac (a type of brandy) to add a smooth, elegant flavor to the cream sauce.
  • Heavy cream and broth: Stir in a combination of heavy cream and broth (both beef and chicken broth work) to make a sauce that is rich, but not heavy.
  • Dijon mustard and lemon: Tangy Dijon mustard and tart lemon juice wake up the flavors of the sauce.

How to Make Pork Chop au Poivre

  • Salt the pork chops. By seasoning the pork chops all over with kosher salt and setting them out at room temperature before baking gives the salt time to penetrate the meat and takes the chill off of the chops.
  • Coat in peppercorns. Press a generous coating of coarsely crushed peppercorns into both sides of the pork chops.
  • Roast the pork chops. Slowly bake the pork chops at 250°F until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 110°F. This should take 40 to 45 minutes, but start checking the temperature early, especially if the pork chops are thinner than 1 1/2 inches.
  • Make the cream sauce. Make a quick, creamy Cognac sauce for serving while the chops are in the oven. Pour into a serving dish, then wipe out the pan for searing.
  • Sear the pork chops. Sear the pork chops on all sides until a crisp, brown crust forms. The internal temperature should reach 135 to 140°F when you’re finished.
Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

What Is Reverse Searing?

Cooking thick pork chops or steaks on the stovetop can be a challenge. You often run the risk of the outside being overdone while the inside hovers below the desired doneness temperature. Reverse searing solves this by slowly roasting the meat until almost to the desired temperature, then searing in a hot pan to finish cooking just before serving. This technique is often used for beef steaks, but it works wonderfully with thick and juicy pork chops.

What to Serve with Pork Chop au Poivre

Credit: Photo: Ryan Liebe ; Food Stylist: Brett Regot

Pork Chop au Poivre Recipe

This peppercorn-crusted pork chop is a new take on the classic French dish.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2

    (1 1/2-inches-thick) bone-in pork chops, preferably rib chops (about 1 pound each)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 2 cloves

    garlic

  • 2 tablespoons

    whole peppercorns, preferably a mix of black, white, pink, and red

  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    Cognac or brandy

  • 1/2 cup

    beef or chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup

    heavy cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons

    neutral oil, such as vegetable, canola, or avocado oil

Instructions

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 250°F. Season 2 (1 1/2-inches-thick) bone-in pork loin rib chops all over with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, finely chop 1 medium shallot (about 1/4 cup) and 2 garlic cloves. Coarsely crush 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, or place the peppercorns in a kitchen towel and crush them with a meat tenderizer or cast iron pan. Juice 1/2 medium lemon until you have 2 teaspoons.

  3. Fit a wire rack on a baking sheet. Press the crushed pepper onto the top and bottom of the pork chops. Place the pork chops on the rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chops not touching bone registers 110°F, 40 to 45 minutes (start checking after 30 minutes).

  4. About 15 minutes before the pork chops are ready, melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a 12-inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until tender and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy and cook until mostly evaporated, about 30 seconds.

  5. Add 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and the lemon juice. Stir to combine and simmer until slightly reduced and thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and cover to keep warm.

  6. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Heat 2 teaspoons neutral oil over high heat in the same skillet until faint wisps of smoke appear. Add the pork chops and sear until a crisp, brown crust forms, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Use tongs to hold the pork chops sideways to sear the edges until the fat cap is golden, 1 to 2 minutes per side. The pork chops are ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest part registers 135 to 140°F.

  7. Transfer the pork chops to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with the cream sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.