The Surprising Ingredient In Alex Guarnaschelli's Pork Chop Recipe

A leaner cut of meat, pork chops are ideal for last-minute dinners when you're scrambling to throw something together that's not Kraft mac and cheese or Chinese takeout (both delicious, btw). Whether you grill, bake, fry, or cook them on a stove, you can't go wrong. Additionally, most recipes don't take longer than 30 minutes because pork chops aren't as thick or tender compared to other raw red meats like filet mignon, for example.

According to Kitchn, the most common mistakes at-home chefs make when preparing and cooking pork chops are undercooking the meat; transporting the chops straight from the refrigerator to their cooking vessel (meat should get to room temperature first); as well as not allowing cooked pork chops "to rest," meaning they should sit for about five minutes before you dig in to allow the juices and fibers to settle.

Lastly, Kitchn recommends always, always seasoning pork chops prior to cooking. At the very least, sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper. But if you're looking for something that's a little more exciting, Food Network personality and professional chef Alex Guarnaschelli has a flavorful seasoning she uses in her pork chop recipe.

What makes Alex Guarnaschelli's pork chops so tasty?

While some may look towards herbs and spices such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or even tarragon for extra flavor, Alex Guarnaschelli's pork chop recipe relies heavily on pumpkin pie spice, which is not to be confused with allspice (via Parade). The unusual ingredient may come as a surprise, but as anyone who has cooked with pumpkin pie spice before can attest, its bold flavor can really set a meal over the edge in the most delicious way.

Typically utilized for autumnal cooking and baking (hello, pumpkin pie), the aromatic spice is a mixture of nutmeg, ground cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Pumpkin pie spice can also include allspice, but is optional.

In her most recent cookbook, Cook With Me, Guarnaschelli explains the pumpkin pie spice isn't used so much on the pork chops as it is in the surrounding sauces and side dishes. The spice is tossed with Brussel sprouts, which bake on a sheet pan alongside the pork chops (via Parade). Then, a caramelized sauce is prepared in the same mixing bowl that held the tossed Brussel sprouts, giving it a subtle pumpkin pie spice flavor.

If you're out of pumpkin pie spice, you can substitute with cinnamon and if you don't have cinnamon, combine a pinch of allspice with dry ginger or nutmeg, Guarnaschelli instructed on Twitter. In doing this, you can enjoy the flavors of fall all year round with this easy-to-make sheet pan pork chop recipe.