If I were to pan-roast pork chops in the traditional way, I'd first brown them in a skillet on the stove, then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking. They would be juicy and delicious...but I'd be lacking other components of the meal. By finishing in a baking dish rather than a skillet, I still get juicy chops, plus I have the chance to fill the bottom of the dish with couscous, load the top with apples and onions and cook the entire meal all at once.

Serves 4


  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 (1/2-inch thick) boneless pork chops, about 1 pound
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup uncooked couscous
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme


    Heat oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops on both sides with 1 1/4 teaspoons of the salt and the pepper. Brown the pork on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the pork to a plate and set aside.

    Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions and apples to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they're tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Add the couscous to an 8x8-inch glass, or ceramic, baking dish or to a metal baking pan.

    Pour the cider and 1/2 cup of water into a small saucepan. Whisk in the mustard until it's dissolved. Add the cinnamon, thyme and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and bring the mixture to a boil—watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over!

    Immediately pour the boiling-hot cider mixture over the couscous. Arrange the browned pork chops on top and add the cooked onions and apples over the top. Cover the dish tightly with foil.

    Bake until the couscous has absorbed all of the liquid and the pork is cooked through to an internal temperature of 145, about 15 to 18 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork a bit before serving.

    From The 8x8 Cookbook: Square Meals for Weeknight Family Dinners, Desserts and More—in One Perfect 8x8-Inch Dish, by Kathy Strahs (Burnt Cheese Press, 2015). Reprinted with full permission.

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