If you're looking for an easy, flavorful alternative to pan-friend or grilled pork chops, consider baking them with mandarin oranges and other seasonings to serve up a moist and delicious dinner. Pork chops are all cut from the pork loin, the meat running from the shoulder of the pig to its hip. Avoid ending up with dry pork chops by choosing chops that are 1 to 2 inches thick, as thinner chops will cook too quickly and lose moisture.
Select pork loin rib chops, which are also commonly called center cut pork chops, if you can find them. These loin chops are they best cut for baking since they're less prone to drying out than pork loin sirloin chops and loin end chops, which are more suited for pan frying or braising.
Set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and begin preheating it.
Place the pork chops in a baking dish that's been greased or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Add a little salt and pepper on top of each chop.
Peel and slice fresh Mandarin oranges or open a can of Mandarin oranges. If you're using canned oranges, add the oranges and the juice to the pork chops. If you're using fresh ones, buy one or two extra oranges and squeeze them, adding the juice to the pan. If you want your pork chops to be glazed, you can add a spoonful of orange marmalade on top of each chop. As the chops bake, the marmalade will coat them, making an effortless glaze that complements the flavors of the Mandarin oranges.
Add any additional seasonings to the pan. This can be as simple as a little salt and pepper to enhance the flavor, or additional seasonings such as fresh or dried herbs, ginger, onions or garlic. After seasoning the dish, cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
Bake for 20 to 60 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the pork chops out of the oven and serve.
Items you will need
- Baking dish
- Salt and black pepper
- Oil or nonstick cooking spray
- Orange marmalade (optional)
- Additional seasonings such as herbs, ginger, onions or garlic (optional)
- Aluminum foil
- Meat thermometer
- Change up the dish by baking the chops and then topping them a fruit salsa made with Mandarin oranges. This adds a burst of fresh, fruity flavor on top of the pork chops. Alternatively, you could use your Mandarin oranges to make a sauce to top your pork loin chops after they are baked. Combine the oranges with any other seasonings in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer until it's thickened and then spoon it over your pork chops when you're serving them.
- Add extra orange flavor to your pork loin chops by marinating them in orange juice for about one hour before baking them.
- Avoid spreading food-borne bacteria by washing your hands with soap and warm water after handling raw pork. Also, be sure to clean any surfaces that come into contact with raw meat. (Ref 5)
- The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook; Good Housekeeping Magazine
- National Pork Board: Chop Basics
- What's Cooking America; Linda Stradley and Andra Cook
- The University of Iowa College of Public Health: Pork Chops with Mandarin Oranges and Cranberries
- National Pork Board: Great News for Pork Lovers: The Puck Stops Here!
- Key Ingredient: Pork Chops with Mandarin Orange Salsa
- Better Recipes: Pork Chop Mandarin Bake
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images