Monday, December 17, 2012
Smothered Pork Chops
If you can learn how to make a good gravy, or even a white sauce to play with, you can really stretch your options. Tonight I had a small package of thin cut boneless pork chops that I bought on a whim yesterday. I also had some pan drippings I saved from some wonderful thick slab peppered bacon I bought at Eastern Market in DC.
I heated just enough of the bacon fat to barely cover the bottom of the skillet. While the fat heated, I salted, peppered and garlic powdered the pork chops, and added the same seasoning to some flour to coat them. When the bacon fat got sizzly hot, I dusted the chops in flour and browned them a few at a time in the pan. This went fairly quickly and I ended up with a good mix of bacon fat and meat juices in the pan when I was done.
So I set the chops on a plate, and sprinkled the leftover flour I had used for the coating over the drippings. There was probably about 4 Tbl. worth of fat, so I added about the same for the flour. Be ready with a whisk or fork when you do this, and stir until you get a loose paste. It should be thin enough to bubble. Let it bubble for a minute or two, and stir to keep it from getting lumpy. Then add in some liquid. So I probably added about 1-1/2 cups of milk and a little more water, and stirred it until it thickened. It was made with seasoned flour and peppered bacon drippings, so it had great flavor. You can always add a little more liquid as you go along.
I follow my Aunt Barbra Deetz's advice about pan gravy: If you were frying, add milk and if you roasted, add water. (Barbra taught me how to make gravy like this when she stayed with me while I was recovering from a car accident. Lucky!)
I took the chops and submerged them in the gravy and heated them through. So an inexpensive thin chop, which could get dry pretty easily, stayed favorful and moist. It also created some gravy for the very plain noodles I cooked, not only for dinner tonight but for leftovers tomorrow.
Everyone should master gravy, which is made just like a basic white sauce, a little fat, a little flour and some liquid. Then you can season anyway you like, or add cheese, or cooked mushrooms, etc., so much you can do. This was a good way to add some interest to plain ingredients, and not waste the flour I had used to cook the pork chops.