Coffee Chops

Yes, the sauce is made from leftover coffee!
A 2005 column, republished in 2007

As women grow up, grow older, are we destined to shadow our mothers?

In first unwitting and then unwilling but unstoppable mimicry of her Depression-era mother, my friend Jan finds herself rinsing plastic bread sacks to dry overnight above the sink, a 1950s homemaker frugality that once annoyed, no infuriated, her.

Here, I saved last night’s leftover beans (two whole beans!) for today’s lunch. More tellingly, the pantry holds a long-empty glass bottle, appealing for its shape and lovely Aegean blue.

It might be useful some time – you know, in case I ever make a fruity vinegar or a rosemary-tinged olive oil, never mind that I never have and likely never will. If I’m to shadow my mother, please, please, please let it be in knowing a thousand tricks for easy suppers like this simple COFFEE CHOP rather than a thousand potential uses for a thousand pretty bottles.

ALANNA's TIPS This recipe illustrates the classic technique for quickly pan-frying chops and steaks while retaining flavor and moisture. The trick is to manage the temperature of the pan and the meat. First heat the dry skillet, then add the fat. The fat is hot enough when a drop of water sprinkled over top sizzles. Only then add the meat, searing the bottom on the hot pan so the meat juice won’t seep out.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite weeknight supper recipe e-mail.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 15 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 pork chops, about 4 ounces each, fat removed
  • About 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt & pepper

  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • More salt & pepper

Heat a large skillet on medium high. When it’s hot, add the butter and the oil. Meanwhile, season each chop on both sides with sugar, salt and pepper. When the skillet and the fat is hot enough (see ALANNA’s TIPS), add the chops. Cook the first side, without touching or turning the meat, for about 4 minutes. Turn the chops over, reduce the heat to medium and cook the second side for about 5 minutes. Transfer the chops to a plate, preferably warm, and cover loosely with foil.

Add the coffee to the skillet. As it boils up, use a spatula to loosen any meat bits from the bottom and the sides. (This is called de-glazing.) Let the coffee simmer for 2 – 3 minutes until it becomes somewhat syrupy. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the chops to a platter or serving plates, pour coffee sauce over top.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 243 Cal; 17g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 3g Carb; 0g Fiber; 63mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 6 points

More Quick Supper Recipes

(click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Supper: Cornmeal Catfish with Warm Potato Salad Quick Supper: Greek Feta Chicken Quick Supper: Pepper Steak & Mushrooms
For more weeknight supper ideas, explore all the Quick Supper recipes.

More Recipes Calling for Coffee

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous7/22/2007

    Coffee and pork sounds like a fascinating combo. I never thought to use coffee as a base for a pan-sauce!

    You get high marks for creativity in my book!


  2. The trick, aside from utter simplicity and speed, is that the sugar adds just a hint of sweet to the coffee flavor. Imagine it if we added cream ... or hmmm ... brandy. HMMMMM!


  3. I made this tonight, Alanna, and we loved it. It's something I can make without any planning, because I always have those ingredients. Maybe next time I will try adding the cream!

  4. Anonymous10/17/2012

    I absolutely loved the flavor of this recipe. I did have trouble with the consistancy of the sauce, it never thickened. What would you suggest?

  5. Hi Anonymous ~ I need to make this again, it's been far too long! The recipe instructions say to cook until "somewhat syrupy" - that tells me it thickens only slightly, not really to the extent of a sauce. It's the fat from the pan that's causing the thickening so depending on your chops, your pan might have more or less oil. A sure way to thicken the sauce? Stir in a little butter at the end. More calories but delicious.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna