Monday, May 21, 2012

Smothered Pork Chops

There's a first time for everything, and this Southern dish is very new to a California Native. It's not often that I make gravies-- except for one of my husband's favorite recipes, "Chicken Fried Steak", or  Rib-Eye Steak with Onion Blue Cheese Sauce.  Most times, I make quick pan sauces, with some kind of booze and either chicken or beef stock. Good times.

Every so often, I get a "hankering" for a pork chop, bone-in.  $6.00 a chop might seem pricey to most people, and I understand that (and I'm thankful that Craig and I both have jobs to indulge a bit).  We enjoy eating meats once or twice a week, but I've made a decision that I'm going to buy the best quality that I can.  I don't want hormone-laden meat, that's been subjected to all kinds of shots and cheap feed.  If it means that I shop for meat less often-- so be it!  I am thankful to have a Whole Foods in my own backyard, so I stop here once a week, and buy whatever seafood, fish, poultry or red meat looks good.

Nice chops!   I bought them, without any idea what I would make with them. (The reason I prefer bone-in, (just like I do with poultry) is that the meat cooks up moister.  I read, somewhere, that the bone helps to distribute the heat more evenly. Sounds logical to me.) Somewhere, in that recipe data base in my head, I remembered seeing a recipe for Smothered Pork Chops from Food Network Magazine.  I had all the ingredients I needed on hand, so on a week night, I got busy in the kitchen:

I've been making my own spice mixes for a while, now.  I save empty spice jars, mix up a batch of Italian, Mexican and Cajun seasoning and it saves money.

I patted the chops dry, then seasoned them with salt and Cajun seasoning, then dredged them in flour and tapped off the excess.  I reserved the rest of the flour for making gravy.

My most preferred way to prepare meat and poultry is to sear it on one side, for a few minutes, then pop the entire skillet into a 425F oven.  I then roasted the chops for about 15 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer read 145F.  I removed the chops to a plate, loosely covered them with foil and got busy with making the gravy.

While the chops were pan roasting, I cut some garden fresh thyme (in full bloom) and sliced one large onion, a large clove of garlic.

To the skillet, I melted one tablespoon of unsalted butter, the onion, some salt and the thyme and cooked them until almost golden brown...

...then I added the garlic (I watch the garlic closely, so I don't burn it).  Once the onions were cooked to golden brown (about 8-10 minutes), I added a couple tablespoons of the reserved flour and cooked it for about one minute.

About 1-1/2 cups chicken broth is added, and about a generous tablespoon of Dijon Mustard (for extra flavor)

Now, for the buttermilk-- about 2/3 cup.  Bubble, bubble...bring to a boil and reduce by about one-third.

This is,  for sure, a man-pleasing meal.  It's a wife-pleasing meal, in that it was pretty effortless to make.

Mashed potatoes would be a perfect side dish...

This time, I baked a couple of Yams, with a pat of butter and a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

TASTING NOTES:   How can anyone fault an onion gravy? Creamy, with a nice tang from the buttermilk.  I'm glad that I added a little Dijon to the recipe, for a little extra depth of flavor.  The thyme was perfect.  The pork was juicy, and we had leftover gravy since I only cooked two chops, instead of four.  Yes, I'd make this again-- and it's easy enough to make after a long day at the office.

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.  If you'd like to make your own cajun spice mix, it's included on the recipe card. If you can't view the recipe card, click here to see it.

 






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11 comments:

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Oh Debby! what a treat! these chops look spectacular - lucky you to find such good quality meat. Great to know about the buttermilk - got to try this!
Mary x

Kay @ Cooking with K said...

These pork chops look scrumptious...A favorite of my husband also...thank for the reminding me!

Heidi @ CrockPotLadies.com said...

Oh wow! Those smothered pork chops look amazing. Cannot wait to try this recipe out!

Kim said...

Pork chops are my husband's favorite. I made a recipe very similar to this and we loved it. Looks gorgeous. Reminds me to put pork chops on the menu soon:)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love bone-in pork chops too. I just bought some from the farmer's market this weekend. Maybe a good onion gravy is in order.

Karen said...

I love bone-in pork chops. That gravy sounds wonderful!

Brenda Z said...

Debby, these chops look wonderful! I have never thought to use buttermilk for the pan gravy- awesome idea! For me, this is comfort food at its finest!

Joanne said...

I would most certainly be tempted to drink that gravy, not gonna lie!

Reeni said...

Your chops look wonderful with that flavor-packed onion gravy! We prefer the bone-in chops too!

Big Dude said...

This ole southern boy things the chops and gravy look outstanding and the sweet potato is the perfect compliment. You could get adopted as a Southern Girl if you keep cooking like this.

Mary said...

These look wonderful and they are just packed with flavor. I can see why they are a favorite of your husbands. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary