Thursday, October 20, 2016

Southern Smothered Pork Chops / Steak

I love a good pork chop. When I was in Junior High I baked them sitting on a thick slice of onion with a can of Campbell's Tomato Soup poured on top; a recipe I learned from a family I baby sat for.  

After moving back out to west Texas to take care of Papa I began baking them, at his request, smothered with cream of mushroom soup.  I wanted to get away from the canned soup thing so I started looking for recipes that made its gravy from scratch rather than a can.

I didn't have to look far because there was one in the current October/November 2016 issue of Cook's Country.

 Start with great meat. Luckily for me there is a great source for that in Midland.  I bought 4 beautiful pork loin chops, weighing about 8 oz. each, at Midland Meat Company.  They are rubbed with a seasoned salt mixture.

 They get dredged in flour that has been seasoned with some of that same seasoned salt mixture.  Set them aside on a wire rack to rest.

Fry two chops at a time for 3-5 minutes per side.

Put the chops back on the rack while you prepare the gravy.

 Make a roux with 1/4 cup of the pan drippings/oil and flour.  Cook until the roux reaches the color of peanut butter.

Throw the onions into the roux.

Add more of the seasoned salt mixture and cook for several minutes until onions begin to soften

Slowly add 3 cups of water and mix until smooth.  Let simmer until thickened.

Pour half of the gravy into a 13 x 9 baking dish.  Place the chops in the pan then pour the rest of the gravy over the chops.

Cover with foil and bake for 1-1/2 hours in a 350° F. oven.

Carefully transfer the chops to a serving platter. Add some cider vinegar to the gravy and pour the gravy over the chops.  MMmmmmm. Dinner.  Serve 'em up with rice or couscous.

NOTE:  This can also be make with Top Round Steak for Smothered Steak

Southern-Style Smothered Pork Chops
Adapted from Cook's Country October-November 2016 issue
Serves 4

2 Tbsp. Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. granulated garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. pepper
4 (8 to 10 ounce) bone-in pork loin chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick or 1-1/2 pounds top round steak cut in serving pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, quartered through root end and sliced thin crosswise
3 cups water
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar


Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350°F.  Set wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.  Combine the seasoned salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, paprika, and 1 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Divide the seasoned salt mixture into thirds (4 tsp. in each portion).

Pat meat dry with paper towels.  Sprinkle both sides of each chop or steak with one portion of the salt mixture (about 1/2 tsp. per side - will be a little less each side if you have more than 4 pieces of the round steak).

Combine 1/2 cup of the flour and another 4 tsp. portion of the salt mixture in a shallow dish.  Dredge chops lightly in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess, and transfer to the prepared rack.

Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add 2 chops to skillet and fry until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side.  Let excess oil drip from chops, then return chops to rack.  Repeat with remaining 2 chops.

Transfer fat left in skillet to a liquid measuring cup.  Return 1/4 cup fat to skillet and stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until roux is color of peanut butter, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onions and remaining 4 tsp. portion of the salt mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until onions begin to soften slightly, about 2 minutes.

Slowly stir water into roux mixture until gravy is smooth and free of lumps.  Bring to simmer and cook until gravy begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Pour half of gravy into a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.  Nestle browned chops in dish, overlapping slightly if necessary.  Pour remaining gravy over chops and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake until chops are fully tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Carefully transfer chops to serving platter (they may be fall-apart tender). Skim fat from surface of gravy.  Add vinegar to gravy and season with pepper to taste.  Pour gravy over chops.