Gourmandistan

Smothered pork chops take us South by way of New York City

We know, we know. There shoulda been a glass of sweet tea in this picture.

Mashed potatoes, a mess of slow-cooked greens and a meltingly tender chop soaking in rich sweet onion gravy is the kind of meal that demands a nap afterwards, at least if you haven’t been working in the fields all day. It’s not the kind of thing we have often in Gourmandistan, as we’re usually searching for something more exotic. But we had a moment recently when fresh local pork and farm share curly kale and potatoes reminded us of this comforting combination, and decided to see how Gourmandistan might make it.

We turned to the Internet for a recipe (Michelle’s paternal grandmother, who used to cook this way all the time, was too busy to write anything down). And we found this one from the definitely not Southern New York Times. We skipped brining the pork, knowing the fabulous chops from our local butcher needed no assistance and added a ton of just-dug garlic. We were delighted with every bite. While this technique certainly takes a little more time than pan-frying, it is quite definitely worth it. Just make sure you’ve scheduled time for a bit of a lie-down after dinner.

SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS

(adapted from Sam Sifton at the New York Times)

  • 4 thick bone-in pork chops
  • 1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 TB lard or neutral oil
  • 4 medium onions, preferably sweet young ones, thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6-8 (or more) cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 quart pork or chicken stock

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Heat the lard or oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven large enough to hold all the chops in one layer.  Season the flour with salt and pepper in a bowl. Dredge the chops, shaking off the excess.  Reserve the flour that is left.

Cook the chops in the oil over medium heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate.

Add sliced onions and the bay leaf to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are beginning to soften. Add garlic slices. Season with more salt and pepper. Continue to cook for a few more minutes until garlic is soft. Add reserved flour to onion/garlic mixture and continue cooking, stirring until flour is cooked off.

Slowly add stock, stirring until mixture is slightly thickened.

Return chops to pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place in oven for 2 hours or more, until chops are very tender. Remove from oven. If gravy is too thin (ours wasn’t), remove chops and cook it down on the stove.

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26 comments

    • One of the few consolations of living here is the availability of fabulous ingredients. One of the few things that KY has ever done well was to invest the tobacco settlement money in farmers. How well I remember the days of (literally) crying in the grocery stores…

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