Seared Pork Chops with Lemon, Haloumi Cheese and Couscous

Seared Pork Chops

This quick and simple meal is great for busy evenings. Greek haloumi cheese adds a delicious and unique twist. Kasseri or kefalotyri cheeses can be substituted.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 20 min
Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

Pork Chops with Lemon and Haloumi Cheese
4 center-cut pork loin chops
1 T salt
1/2 T black pepper
3 T olive oil, divided
2 T capers, drained
2 T butter
8 oz haloumi cheese, 1/4" thick slices *
2 T lemon juice
1 1/2 T honey
1 T fresh oregano leaves
lemon wedges and zest for garnish

Asparagus and Tomato Couscous
1 1/4 c water
1 c tri-color pearl (Israeli) couscous
pinch of salt
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1" segments
1/2 pt cherry tomatoes, halved
8-10 garlic cloves, halved and roasted
12 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
2 oz arugula (or sub spinach)

Steps

Pork Chops with Lemon and Haloumi Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season pork chops well with salt and pepper. In ovenproof skillet over med heat, sear chops in 2 T oil, 2 min per side. Transfer to oven and finish to 145 degrees internal temp, approx. 10 min. Remove chops from skillet and let rest. Add to same skillet capers and remaining 1 T olive oil. Fry capers 1 min or until color darkens slightly. Spoon capers over pork chops.

In the hot skillet, add butter, cheese slices, honey and oregano. Fry cheese until golden, 1 min per side. Add lemon juice. Top pork with cheese and juices from pan. Garnish with lemon wedges and zest. Serve with Asparagus and Tomato Couscous.

Asparagus and Tomato Couscous
Bring water to a boil; add couscous and salt, reduce heat to low. Cover tightly and cook until liquid is absorbed, approx. 10 min. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in sauté pan over med heat; add asparagus and cook 2 min until softened. Add remaining ingredients and combine with hot couscous. Serve immediately.

Chef tips and notes
This recipe also lends itself to chicken breasts. Use other grains or pastas in place of the couscous if desired, such as quinoa, faro or orzo.

A dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris, complements this dish nicely.

* Haloumi is a firm, Greek cheese that can be quickly grilled, roasted or fried and will hold its shape