Food You Can Eat: Julia Child’s Pork Chops For 2 (Plus a Little For the Ravenous Hound)

My two live-in Michelin-accredited restaurant critics give this 4 stars

Image via This recipe is all over the internet, I learned, so I chose the most appealing image.

This is one of the easiest meat recipes in the entire Julia Child Mastering the Art of French Cooking magnum opus. In Mastering this is called Côtes de Porc Poêlées. I’ve adapted it here to suit the needs of two large humans and one ravenous hound.

You just need to marinate the pork chops, sear, and bake. And make a sauce, naturellement

For the marinade (will suffice for 1 lb. of pork chops):

You can use your own, if you have a favorite, but Julia says:

Combine the following in a bowl: 

1 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

3 tbsp. lemon juice. This is the juice of about 1/2 a lemon.

3 tbsp. olive oil

3 parsley sprigs

1/4 tsp thyme or sage

[Author’s note: The Handy Rooftop Herb Garden was denuded of parsley, but it yielded thyme and sage, so I just added more of that. This is a marinade; it’s not really intrinsic to the dish. Let your imagination run free. You need the liquid, though, so don’t blow off the olive oil and the lemon juice.]

1 bay leaf

1 clove smashed garlic [smoosh it with the back of a spoon. I used 2 cloves.]

For the pork chops: 

Since I had three hungry mouths to feed, two human and one canine, I rolled on over to The Rapacious Butcher. In his defense meat prices are going through the roof; he is, unsurprisingly, not particularly busy on a weekday afternoon so it’s usually just the two of us rather than the Soylent-Green-ish mobs at the neighborhood supermarkets, even though it is a weekday afternoon; and I always have strange requests like:

1 lb. pork chops, 1” thick. I was going to get 2 8 oz.-ers but I thought: “2 pork chops 1” thick that weigh 7 oz. each and 1 2-oz. (boneless) pork chop scrap also 1” thick.”

Put the three chops in the marinade and marinate for 6—12 hours in the fridge. I did this via a Ziploc bag for about 7 hours I think, right before making lunch and I served them for dinner. Remember, when handling pork, wash your hands like you’re taking a “Silkwood Shower.” Every so often flip the Ziploc bag so the marinade really settles in.

You will also need:

3 tbsp pork fat, lard, or cooking oil. I had cooking oil.

1 or 2 tbsp. butter (use 2, it’s a Julia Child recipe.)

2 cloves garlic, halved

1/3 cup dry white wine, dry white vermouth, brown stock, beef bouillon, or marinade liquid. My first instinct, of course, was to go with the wine, but my innate frugality told me to use the marinade and not waste it.


Preheat an oven to 325 degrees. 

Dry the pork chops with a paper towel. Heat the cooking oil in an ovenproof skillet. Use one that has a lid, if you have one, but don’t despair if you don’t. Brown the chops, 3—4 minutes per side. You should have enough room that they’ll fit; don’t overlap them. 

Put the 2 big chops aside on a plate. Remember, you’ve got 2 1/3 in this recipe. A sane person would be making just 2. For the third one, keep cooking it until it’s done, no longer pink on the inside and the juice isn’t running pink. Don’t really bother about burning it slightly; it is for The Ravenous Hound. Put that on the plate too.

Pour the oil out of the skillet and discard. Add the butter and garlic to the pan and bring the butter to a melt but not foamy (my words, not JC’s). Add the two adult pork chops. Baste them with the garlic butter in the skillet. Cover until the chops start releasing juices (sizzle). If you have a lid, especially a see-through one, so much the better but you can cover with tin foil. You do this to keep the moisture in its little moisture-o-sphere.

Put the skillet, covered (make sure the lid itself is oven-proof; you might want to replace with tin foil) for 25—30 minutes. Pour yourself a glass of the dry white wine you won’t be using for the sauce, see next step. Two or three times turn the chops and baste with the butter/garlic.

When they’re done (the juices will run clear/yellowish, not pink) remove the chops. You’re not done yet.

To make the sauce (it’s really kind of made itself):

Move the skillet back to the stovetop. Remove all but 2 tbsp. liquid, and pour in the 1/3 cup marinade (or wine, vermouth, stock or bouillon). Boil “for just a few minutes,” scraping up the skillet residue bits, until it reduces a little. Salt and pepper if you want. That is the sauce that you will pour over your chops, but not that of The Ravenous Hound.



  1. How is your butcher for non-standard cuts? Every once in a blue moon something unusual will show up in my grocery store for unknown reasons like lamb shanks or oxtail. I’d like to have a more convenient source for things like this instead of waiting for the planets to align.

    • I should really ask him how his stock seems so varied because he doesn’t exactly do a land office business. But he always seems to have a little of everything. Even one of my chain supermarkets carries oxtail and lamb shanks and pig knuckles because we are so diverse here (other locations wouldn’t necessarily have those things, I’m pretty sure), but this butcher seems to have every cut of meat from every animal known to man. Well, not the exotic stuff like kangaroo or zebra. I suspect his family has been in the business for decades and he’s a little off-shoot/vanity project from a much larger concern, maybe a group that has a lot of hotel contracts or supplies a lot of restaurants.

      The really baffling thing to me is the fishmonger. They seem to be an extended Asian family. They too have an amazing variety of all things aquatic, and yet we have virtually no Asian population to speak of, not even very many Chinese/”Chinese” restaurants, so why they have as much as they do I don’t know. Could be the same thing, maybe an even larger branch of the family buys much more seafood for various purposes and they take a piece of it and sell it here.

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