Juicy pan-seared pork chops with a flavorful aromatic fennel seed tomato sauce. It's super easy to make and you'll only need 4 ingredients. It's ready in just half-hour and it will surprise your guests and family with its amazing flavor!
I remember the first time I tasted this dish. The first bite was an explosion of flavors from the fennel seeds and I was immediately in love! So much that a few days later I had to re-create it at home again. As soon as I got the flavors right, I put it in my recipe book. This was about 10 years ago.
My father was driving around the Tuscan hills. I think we visited Volterra that day and we were going back home. My father's partner mentioned a nice restaurant in Quercegrossa, a little village in the outskirts of Siena, but when we got there, we couldn't find it. So my father decided to drive around some more to find something else. After a few kilometers, we see a sign for a "Trattoria", the typical Italian rustic restaurants with good food and small prices. So, we followed the sign.
It took as a while to find any buildings, driving up the steep hills on those narrow dirt roads. When we arrived, at "Trattoria la Magione", a smiling lady, Tonia, greeted us with her cute dog Lucky, while her husband Mario was preparing the meals in the kitchen. The place was small but the tables were almost full. We were sure we were going to eat nice food.
I ordered the pork chops with fennel seeds sauce because I've never tried it before and it sounded intriguing. When I got the plate, the pork chops were in a pool of tomato sauce and I surely didn't expect that strong aromatic flavor which exploded in every bite and which was complementing the pork chops so well. Love at first bite!
A few years later, my boyfriend wanted to take me for our second date to a nice restaurant he loved. I was so surprised when we got there, it was the same one! The nice lady and the dogs were still there and the husband still cooking away in the kitchen. We had once again a fantastic meal and since then, we became friends with the owners and went back several times until they were forced to close down because of the increased price in the rent of the building.
Sometimes the best meals of your life are cooked is the most unexpected little restaurants which you may find by pure luck. Have you ever had a similar experience?
How to cook the perfect pork chops
Pork is not the easiest meat to cook. If you cook it too much, it becomes as hard as a shoe sole. If you don't cook it enough it can be dangerous.
The perfectly cooked pork needs to be nicely seared outside and pinkish (but now raw) on the inside. This way it will be soft and juicy.
To achieve the perfectly cooked pork, sear it in a very hot pan with a drizzle of oil, for 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness) so they become golden brown. Then remove from the pan and cook the sauce in the same pan.
At the end, put the pork chops back in the pan with the sauce and cook for another couple of minutes.
To be sure the pork chops are ready, especially if you use pork chops of different thickness, you can use a thermometer. They are done when they reach the internal temperature of 62°C (145°F).
Pork Chops with Fennel seed Tomato Sauce
- 2 Garlic cloves, halved
- 1 tablespoon Fennel seeds
- 1 can Tomato sauce
- 2 Pork Chops
- Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Pat dry the pork chops and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side (time depends on the thickness) in a very hot pan drizzled with olive oil.
- Remove the pork chops from the pan, season with salt and pepper on each side and set them aside.
- In the same pan add some more olive oil and the garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then add the fennel seeds and the tomato sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of sugar if the tomato sauce is too acidic. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. If it reduces too much, add a few tablespoons of water.
- When the sauce is ready, remove the garlic and add the pork chops and cook a couple of minutes more. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.