Italian-Style Smothered Pork Chops

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These chops are seriously loaded with bold Italian flavors. And about as good they come. 

You’ll need to start getting these ready one or two days in advance.  But wow, do they pack a powerful punch of flavor! The peppers give a hint of heat, and placing the thick bone-in loin pork chops in an awesome brine for 24 to 48 hours in advance ensures a show-stopper of a meal. Serve with the best-ever mashed potatoes and get ready to impress!

A straight-on view of two white dinner plates filled with Italian-style smothered pork chops both resting in a light brown sauce and a glass of red wine nearby.

How To Make Italian-Style Smothered Pork Chops

 

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The Ingredients You Will Need

The ingredients for this dish are not exotic and can easily be picked up at your local market. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

For the Brine
Brown sugar – Light or dark, whatever you have on hand.
Salt – Kosher is an excellent option.
Water – You’ll need hot water (warmed in the microwave) and cool tap water, too.
Peppercorns – Black or green.
Garlic cloves – Peeled and then smashed (with the side of a knife or with a mallet).
Cloves – Whole.
Bay leaf – Fresh or dried.
Oil – Vegetable or olive will work.
Cinnamon – Whole (a stick).
Pork chops – Bone-in, loin chops are best.

For the Sauce
Oil – Olive oil or extra-virgin will work.
Garlic – Minced.
Cherry peppers – We recommend a mix of sweet and hot. You’ll need some of the brine from the bottle, too.
Butter – Unsalted.
Herbs – Fresh basil and parsley.
Seasonings – Salt and pepper.

EXPERT TIP: After the chops have been removed from the brine, you’ll need to pat them dry and then sear them in a large hot skillet. The goal is to brown each side, which will form a crust. They won’t be completely cooked at this point, you’ll finish them off in the oven.

An overhead view of four seared bone-in pork chops in a large cast-iron skillet.

Tips for Making Perfect Italian-Style Smothered Pork Chops

Plan in Advance – For the best flavor, you’ll want the chops to chill in the brine for preferably 48 hours.

Sear Dry Chops – Ensure that the pork chops are thoroughly dried before searing to achieve a golden crust and prevent steaming.

Don’t Overcook the Chops – A meat thermometer ensures perfectly cooked pork chops. Don’t let them go above 140 to 145°F.

Fresh is Best – Finish the sauce with fresh herbs (better than dried), which will add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

An overhead view of a large black cast-iron skillet that is filled with a light brown sauce filled with sautéed peppers, garlic, and herbs, with a wooden spoon inserted in the middle of it all.

How To Serve

You can easily serve this straight from the dish that you cooked the chops and sauce in.

However, transferring the chops to an attractive platter with some of the sauce spooned over the top makes for a beautiful presentation.

We recommend transferring most of the sauce to a gravy boat or a bowl with a spoon and allowing guests/family to add as much (or as little) as they prefer for their chops.

The dish goes perfectly with best-ever mashed potatoes, but also works with cooked pasta or even steamed rice.

A straight-on view of a large spoon transferring a savory brown sauce over the top of a seared pork chop that is covered with Italian peppers, garlic, and herbs.

Other Amazing Pork Recipes To Try

Pork is such a versatile protein, and is wonderful for breakfast, lunch, appetizers, or dinner! Here are some of our favorite recipes featuring pork:

Seared Pork Chops with Caper Sauce
Grilled Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops
Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Cajun Rice
Southern Fried Pork Chops
Grandma’s Pork Loin Roast
Herb-Stuffed Pork Roast
Breakfast Maple Sausage Patties
Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms
Bratwurst Sliders with Beer Cheese
Epic Sausage and Peppers Hero

These are all amazing in their own way, but in the meantime, isn’t this dish calling your name?

An overhead view of an antique platter filled with four Italian-style smothered pork chops.

How To Store and Reheat

In the unlikely event that you have leftovers, simply place them in a container with a tight-fitting lid and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheat the sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Wrap the chops in foil, place on a baking sheet, and cook until just heated through in a 350°F oven, typically about 15 to 20 minutes.

It all reheats nicely (and easily) in the microwave on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes.

An overhead view of an Italian-style smothered pork chop resting on a bed of mashed potatoes with a pool of sauce in the bottom of the plate.

Even though you need to plan in advance and get the chops in the brine a couple of days before serving, the dish is actually very simple to prepare.

It’s ideal for a wonderful weeknight meal, but it’s also so stunning in presentation, it’s perfect for dinner parties, too!

The sauce has a small amount of heat from the hot cherry peppers. If you want no heat at all, then go with all sweet cherry peppers.

It all adds up to one of the most delicious pork dishes you’ll ever serve! Every single bite is a true taste sensation!

A close-up view of a partially eaten pork chop that is covered with Italian peppers and herbs and resting in an amber-colored sauce.

Ready to make one of the very best pork dishes in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of an Italian-style smothered pork chop resting on a bed of mashed potatoes with a pool of sauce in the bottom of the plate.

Italian-Style Smothered Pork Chops

All you need to do is plan in advance to make these incredible chops. If you can, let the chops chill in the brine for 48 hours. Preparation is quick and easy. Serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice for the perfect meal.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian, Italian / American
Keyword: brined pork chops, how to make smothered pork chops
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 507kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large oven-safe skillet such as a cast-iron skillet, see NOTES.

Ingredients

For the Brine

  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups cool water
  • 7 peppercorns black or green
  • 1 onion peeled and sliced into slivers
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 4 loin pork chops about 1 inch thick, each

For the Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup sweet cherry peppers quartered and seeded
  • ½ cup hot cherry peppers quartered and seeded
  • ¼ cup sweet cherry pepper juice from the jar
  • ¼ cup hot cherry pepper juice from the jar
  • ¼ cup basil fresh, chopped
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley fresh, chopped
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter

Instructions

Prepare the Brine and the Chops

  • In a medium-sized bowl, stir the brown sugar and salt in the hot water until dissolved. Stir in the cold water and the rest of the brine ingredients.
    3 tbsp dark brown sugar, 3 tbsp Kosher salt, 1 cup hot water, 2 cups cool water, 7 peppercorns, 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 3 whole cloves, 1 bay leaf, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Place the chops in a large freezer baggie (or a dish) and then carefully add the brine mixture. Seal the baggie (or tightly cover the dish with foil) and place in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours. Move the chops around in the brine every now and then.
    4 loin pork chops

Prepare the Chops and Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Remove the pork chops from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels, and set them aside. Discard the brine.
  • In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Once the oil is hot, sear the pork chops for about 4 minutes, or until they are golden brown on one side. Flip over and sear for another 3 to 4 minutes.
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook the pork chops for 3 minutes, or until they are just pink in the center. Internal temp should be 140 to 145°F (use a meat thermometer to ensure correct internal temperature).
  • Transfer the chops to a platter and cover them with foil.
  • Place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute.
    3 cloves garlic
  • Add the chicken stock, sweet and hot peppers, and pepper juices.
    1 cup chicken stock, ½ cup sweet cherry peppers, ½ cup hot cherry peppers, ¼ cup sweet cherry pepper juice from the jar, ¼ cup hot cherry pepper juice from the jar
  • Stir in the basil, parsley, salt, and pepper, and simmer the sauce for about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted.
    ¼ cup basil, ¼ cup Italian parsley, ½ tsp Kosher salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Place the chops on a serving platter and spoon the sauce over them, leaving some extra sauce to serve at the table.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel
The chops will still be delicious even if you only brine overnight, but if you can allow 24 to 48 hours, the flavor and texture will be even better. 
The sauce carries a slight level of heat from the hot cherry peppers. If you prefer no heat at all, then go with all sweet cherry peppers. 
We recommend spooning just enough of the sauce over the chops to coat them. Serve the rest of the sauce at the table for guests to add more, if they desire.
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, or in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes, or microwave on HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 507kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 137mg | Sodium: 6047mg | Potassium: 670mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 933IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This post was originally published in June 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in January 2024!

3 Comments

  • 5 stars
    This is honestly one of the best dishes I have ever made. I had HUGE (3 in) Costco bone in pork chops. Was worried they would be too big! Nope….brined beautifully for 48 hours and it was so delicious. I have never had a bad recipe from Kris and Wesley but this was at the top of the do over list. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Hi Patricia! Wow! 3-inch chops! That is awesome! We are so thrilled you brined them for the full 48 hours and then cooked them up with the sauce! Woo hoo! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing and for the GREAT review!! That always means so so much to us!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    These are great! Our go-to recipe for pork chops. And they are not hard, just require a bit of planning. I’ve substituted other peppers, using whatever I have on hand, but trying to use some sweet and some spicy. The pork chops turn out perfectly every time. There’s a Lidia Bastianich recipe for cannelini beans that goes perfectly with these plus baked cabbage or braised fennel.

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