Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cilantro Pesto

Another BHG recipe that caught our fancy was this simple, yet flavorful pork chop dinner. Whenever buying steaks or pork chops, we tend to go thick, and while this recipe calls for 1/2″ thin chops, the ones we had on hand were nearly 2″ so the cooking time was about 3-4 times longer than the five minutes suggested here. And the title is a bit of a misnomer because the directions indicate cooking in a skillet, but since it was a gorgeous late-spring evening, we decided grilling was the only way to go.
About an hour and a half before you start cooking, rub the blend over both sides of each chop. This allows for the spices to penetrate the meat for a more intense flavor. And “note-to-self,” next time we make this recipe, I’m going to up the savory quotient and double the chili powder/brown sugar seasoning mix.

An innovative cilantro pesto not only adds vibrant color, but also gives another dimension to the chops. Our supply of on-hand cilantro didn’t quite measure a packed full cup, so I personally thought it was a tad thin.

Add to that a couple of baked potatoes with your choice of butter and/or sour cream, sprinkle on some freshly-cut minced chives, and a side of steamed broccoli, and voila, a fast, easy satisfying weeknight dinner.


  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems (1 ounce)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp.salt
  • few dashes bottled green hot pepper sauce
  • 4, 1/2-inch thick bone-in pork chops (ours were 2″)
  • 1 tsp.chili powder
  • 1 tsp.packed brown sugar


  1. For Cilantro Pesto, place cilantro, orange juice, 3 tablespoons oil, salt, and hot pepper sauce in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth.
  2. Sprinkle chops with chili powder and brown sugar; rub in with your fingers. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork. Cook for 5 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once.
  3. Serve chops with cilantro mixture.

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