Smothered Pork Chops
Smothered in what? In onions, that’s what! If you’re in the mood for a soul-satisfying delicious dinner, here it is.
As you may know by now, I generally prefer rib chops, of the various pork chops available. But if you have other chops, that’s fine.
For this dish you don’t want the big one-inch-thick chops you might use for stuffing; just the normal 1/2″ variety (like they have at CostCo) is fine. Brine the chops first if you have an extra 1/2 hour or so.
You’ll fry a few pieces of bacon for this, and if you’re like me, sometimes you’re out of bacon, but I had some pre-cooked bacon on hand. Fortunately, I also had in the fridge a peanut can with a plastic top that I had used to save bacon drippings. Came in pretty handy here; I diced the pre-cooked bacon, and used a few tablespoons of the fat to fry the onions.
You’ll need your large skillet that has a cover for this dish. You’ll also need to slice a couple of onions, and have two cups of chicken broth ready to go. Here’s the recipe:
3-4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
4 pork chops, with bone, preferably rib chops
2 onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white or red wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Using either a knife or kitchen shears, cut the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces. In a small sauce pan, fry the bacon until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. If you have less than three tablespoons of bacon drippings left in the pan, add some oil to make up the difference.
Sprinkle the flour into the fat, stirring to dissolve it into the oil. Cook over medium heat for five minutes or so, until the mixture becomes nice and brown; about the color of peanut butter. This is called a roux (roo). Now stir in the chicken broth gradually, and be ready for some steam — don’t get burned. As you stir the broth into the roux you just made, the sauce, or gravy, will thicken. After it boils it will be about as thick as you need. Remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for later.
Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in the large skillet. Rinse off the chops, pat them dry, and sprinkle them with black pepper. Fry the chops about three minutes per side and set aside. If you’re doing six chops rather than four, you will probably have to do this in two batches.
Now the skillet is empty except for the stuff stuck to the bottom (the fond) and maybe some oil left. Add another tablespoon or so of oil if you need, and add the sliced onion. Toss the onion to distribute the oil, and let sit for a few minutes. Add the wine and sprinkle with salt. Use the spatula to scrape up the fond, which the wine will dissolve. Toss the onions once in a while, and after they are soft and beginning to brown (about five minutes), add the garlic and thyme.
After cooking another minute or two, push the onions to the side of the pan so you can layer 1/2 of the chops on the bottom of the pan. Then push the onions on top of the chops to make the rest of the pan available for the rest of the chops. Then distribute the onions over the chops, pour the gravy over, plus any juice from the pork chops, and add the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Just before serving, remove the chops and onions from the pan, raise the heat to boiling, and thicken the sauce. Pick out the bay leaves, add pepper to taste, and stir in the parsley. Cover the chops and onions with the sauce, sprinkle with the bacon pieces, and serve.
In the photo above, I’ve served these chops with Swiss chard from our garden, one of our favorite greens. These chops are also good served with boiled potatoes, or rice to soak up the gravy. Enjoy!