Cooking pork loin chops can be challenging because, on the one hand, you want the chops to get nice and golden brown but at the same time you want the meat to remain tender and juicy. Preventing the chops from drying out while they cook through can be especially difficult but a combination of pan searing and cooking at a low temperature in Convection is one way to achieve great results.
How to Cook Pork Chops So They Remain Tender and Juicy
We need heat to cook food but too much heat can destroy food by robbing moisture from the food, and this is one of the reasons why methods for cooking foods at very low temperatures have become so popular. The sous vide method, for example, is a long slow process of cooking food at very low temperatures in a vacuum sealed bag. There is no moisture loss and any added seasoning or marinades create exceptional flavor, while the high heat sear at the end of the cooking creates the perfect finish.
One method I have found that works well to keep lean tender cuts of pork from drying out is to sear the chops in an oven-proof skillet with some butter and oil. Butter is excellent for adding flavor and for creating a golden sear. Once the chops have been seared on each side, add 2 tablespoons of sherry or white wine to the pan and place the pan into the oven to finish cooking. The ideal mode is Convection or Convection Roast at 300 - 325 degrees, depending on how much of a hurry you are in. Depending on how thick the chops are they only need between 6 - 8 minutes in the oven to cook through.
A Little Stuffing Adds Extra Flavor
Another way to keep the pork juicy is to cut a pocket in the side and spread a garlic herb stuffing into the pocket. It only takes a few minutes and makes all the difference in terms of flavor. In this recipe I used garlic and fresh herbs, but you could also add in some sauteed mushrooms or leeks.
Meats do cook best at room temperature so if the timing permits be sure to get them out of the refrigerator to lose the chill before cooking. Also, remember that once the chops come out of the oven remove them from the hot pan so they don’t continue to cook.
Can I Cook Other Foods in the Oven at the Same Time?
I am always in favor of making good use of the oven for cooking more than one item. The challenge here is that in order for the chops to remain juicy you need the oven temperature to be on the low side. However, you can begin roasting a medley of seasonal vegetables at 300 - 325F and they will cook through in approximately 20 - 30 minutes. Once the pork comes out of the oven, increase the oven temperature to 400 - 425F and finish cooking the vegetables with a blast of high heat so they caramelize on the edges.
If cooking root vegetables, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, or potatoes they are best cut in ¼” thick slices to ensure they cook through. Place the tray of vegetables on the lower oven rack and when you add the pan with the pork chops to the oven place it on the middle rack in the oven.
If you are looking to add a delicious easy-to-prepare cake to your dessert repertoire then check out my next post for making a citrus-scented olive oil almond cake, it's irresistible.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast