Pork chops get a bad rap, and nowhere is that more true than in this house. They're one of Shane's favorites, but I usually find them dry and bland and tough. And yes, I've heard that a brine helps, but that takes time and advance planning, and in case I haven't mentioned, I'm something of a procrastinator :) If we're going to have pork, I'd much rather it be tenderloin, ribs or, my personal favorite, shoulder - cooked low and slow until it falls apart. A few times a year, though, I will seek out a pork chop recipe I can add to our meal plan for the week, because I know it will make Shane impossibly happy.
I don't even remember how I stumbled upon these smothered pork chops, but the recipe had rave reviews and the buttermilk gravy sounded fantastic, so I figured why not give it a shot. It's a perfect meal for any weeknight, ready in only about 30 minutes so that's a bonus too. Not a bonus? Dropping the pork chops in the pan in a careless, distracted manner. Hot oil meets forearm resulting in a lovely 2-inch burn I'm still nursing nearly 2 weeks later. I'm pretty sure the scar will help me to always remember this recipe :) That hiccup aside, these smothered pork chops were a huge success. I expected Shane would love them, and I'd tolerate them, but I was happy to clean my plate that night. The pork stayed juicy and tender, and the buttermilk gravy added the flavor I'm usually missing when it comes to pork chops. Dare I say, these might even be a repeat here? That's big, really big.
Smothered Pork Chops
barely adapted from Tyler Florence (via Food Network)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Add the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt and pepper to a wide, shallow bowl. Stir to combine. Pat both sides of the pork chops dry, then dredge them in the flour mixture.
Set a large cast iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it shimmers, shake any excess flour off the pork chops and carefully add them to the skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the chops are golden brown. Transfer the pork to a plate and tent to keep warm. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of the seasoned flour over the pan drippings (the exact quantity of flour isn't super important) and whisk to incorporate into the fat and cook off some of the raw flour flavor. Add the chicken broth and whisk to combine. Let the liquid cook down for about 5 minutes, or until reduced and slightly thickened. Whisk in the buttermilk then return the pork chops to the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until the pork is cooked through (at least 145 F on an instant-read thermometer). Season the gravy to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the parsley before serving.