Pesto Pork Chops

Pesto marinated pork chop

If we could ban one food from ever being served in a school canteen, it would be pork chops. It’s no wonder we entered adulthood hating them. This sorry cut of meat wasn’t just beige and tasteless; it was so dry we’d barely chewed through our first bite before lunchtime was over.

If our friend hadn’t served us a beautifully tender, flavourful pork chop al fresco one late summer’s evening, it’s likely that one would have never passed our lips again. Thanks to her, though, we now have such respect for this affordable cut of meat that it’s become one of our mid-week staples.

Whatever pesto you’re using, we recommend searing your chops in oil that has been generously infused with garlic. With that in mind, don’t prepare this dish if there’s any chance of you getting a swipe-right later tonight.

Recommended equipment
Instant-read thermometer

Pro tip
Although its primary function is as a meat tenderiser, a jaccard allows you to instantly punch hundreds of little holes in the meat, which helps the marinade permeate.


Pork chops x2
Pesto 150g
Garlic x4 cloves
Canola oil as needed
Seasoning to taste

Confidently season your chops with salt and pepper and marinate them in the pesto for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.

Crush the cloves, skin and all, with the palm of your hand or the side of a knife and add to a pan over low heat with an overly generous glug of oil. Moving constantly so they don’t burn, cook the cloves until the kitchen smells garlicky enough to ward off vampires.

Remove and discard the cloves, and increase the heat to maximum. Shake off excess pesto from the chops and sear on both sides until golden brown on the outside and fully cooked in the middle, about 3 minutes each side. (Alternatively, cook until the internal temperature registers 62°C on an instant read thermometer.)

Rest the meat for 3-5 minutes before serving.

Serving suggestions
Potato and Bramley apple mash
Butter beans with bacon lardon
Squash, courgette, and onion casserole
Sautéed leeks and steamed Jasmine rice
Potato salad with asparagus and capers