This delicious pork recipe is kid friendly and the whole family will love it!
If you are here to find a simple and easy idea for dinner, you came to the right place! One thing I love about recipes that require you to marinade meat ahead of time, is that you can prep your food in the morning, before work or the hustle of the day, and then by the time dinner comes around, you will be set up for success!
Why do you marinade meat?
So, why do a marinade at all? Most marinades consist of an acidic ingredient followed by some herbs and oils. Acidic foods breaks down the tissue of the meat, allowing the flavor and moisture to penetrate the meat. The result is a more tender and flavorful meat that isn’t dry! Acidic ingredients you could try that would accomplish this include orange, vinegar, lemon and wine. For this recipe, we used the juice of clementines with honey, vinegar, chopped rosemary (can substitute tarragon or thyme), salt and pepper. There are a few ways to marinade, but for this recipe we simply included all the ingredients inside a zip top bag with the meat, and chilled it in the fridge for 2+ hours. This allowed the meat to start to break down, tenderize, and absorb the herbs for ultimate flavor.
How long do you marinate meat?
Typical marinading is 2 hours or longer. The more acidic the ingredients you are using, the quicker you can marinade something. However, too long, and the reverse will happen. Poultry can be marinaded for 2 days, but any longer than that and the meat will begin to toughen instead of tenderize.
The best place to store meat that is being marinated is in the fridge. This slows down the growth of bacteria and is the safest recommendation that we have now. You can also turn your meat half way during marinading if you don’t feel like all the surfaces of your meat are getting covered. Otherwise, make sure your container allows full immersion! That’s why we like the zip top bag idea. It does make it easy to turn the bag and massage the meat if you choose, to really get it worked in.
Interesting note! Don’t use too much salt. It’s common to think that salting your meat during the marinading process will give it better flavor, but the truth is, salt draw water AWAY from your meat! This could leave your meat dry! Only use the amount of salt recommended in this recipe, but then you can always add more for flavor toward the end of cooking.
This dinner is delicious and balanced myplate meal with some mashed potatoes, extra clementines and a side of squash!
Citrus Pork Chops
- Add the zest and juice (1-2 tablespoons) of half the clementines to a medium sized bowl. Whisk in honey, vinegar, chopped rosemary (can substitute tarragon or thyme), 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Peel remaining clementines and place wedges in a sealable container in the refrigerator for later use.
- Place pork chops in a sealable bag. Pour honey mixture over the pork and marinate for at least 2 hours (can be left overnight).
- Peel potatoes and boil in a large stock pot until fork tender; drain. Add butter and milk to potatoes; mash and set aside, covered.
- Preheat broiler. Remove pork from bag and place onto baking sheet. Pour marinade into a small pan and set aside.
- Season pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place pork 3 inches from the heat and broil for 4 minutes or until browning occurs. Flip pork over and place remaining clementine wedges on the pan. Broil again for 5 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and internal temperature is 145°F.
- Heat marinade over medium and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer uncovered for 6-8 minutes or until marinade is reduced by half.
- Meanwhile, spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium. Slice onion. Peel and cut squash into cubes. Add to hot skillet and sauté for 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.
- Drizzle pork with sauce and serve with broiled clementines, mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie