Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smothered pork chops


Before I moved to the US, the only type of pork we ate at our house was in form of sausages and bacon and even then, we didn't do that regularly owing to health reasons for some family members. So my first encounter with pork-chops was at a Waffle House here in Atlanta (don't judge me!!). The exact meal was pork chops and eggs. Now for those of you who are not familiar with Waffle House, it is a penny-pinching diner type eatery. I was fresh out of college and was not quite economically viable (yet). Ahem! I have to admit that I was smitten at first bite. The pairing sounded odd, but the flavors involved packed a punch more potent than Mike Tyson's uppercut. I was hooked! I had to learn how to replicate that meal on a budget, at my apartment. I will share my version of the pork chops with you.
But first, I have to tell you about the essential special equipment that you will need to cook these babies in-a cast iron skillet. I have one and I am not ashamed to say that she has a name (yes, "she"). I call her "Lola". Lola and I have made many fantastic meals together over the years. From savory dishes to cobblers. She does it all! I would feel lost without her. She is heavy so you have to sturdy your back before lifting your skillet. She also doubles up as a protective weapon, a bullet-proof shield (in case I ever needed one),and a dumbbell. She can also survive generations if properly cared for. I hope to one day pass her down to one of my grand kids. Can you tell I love my cast-iron skillet? It is such an essential tool to have, and so inexpensive that every kitchen needs one. Thanks for your attention, now back to the recipe.
                                                         Introducing, "Lola".
Serving Size:
This recipe feeds four.
Cast-Iron skillet.
Cooking tongs

-4 large pork chops.
-1 tablespoon salt (I use Kosher salt).
-1 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning.
-2 teaspoons garlic powder.
-1 teaspoon paprika powder.
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
**1/2 cup all-purpose flour (not 1 1/2 cups like I said in the video**
-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use Canola ).
-1 1/2 tablespoons plain yellow mustard (Like the one you use for your hot dogs. I used French's).
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter.
-1/2 cup heavy whipping cream.
-2 tablespoons cooking cream (I used Philadelphia cooking cream, original flavor).
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
-1/2 teaspoon paprika powder.
-Salt to taste.
-Before you marinate your pork chops, thoroughly clean them in room-temperature water and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Use a separate paper towel to dab both sides of the pork chop to remove any excess moisture.
-In a clean dish with a lid, combine the mustard, salt, all-purpose seasoning, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper to form a thick marinade paste.
-Apply this marinade paste to all sides of each pork chops (use CLEAN hands to do this).
-Once all the pork chops are covered in marinade, slowly sprinkle the all-purpose four on all the sides of each pork chop. Now cover the container with a lid or foil, and refrigerate for 1 hour minimum, or you can also leave it in the fridge overnight for best results.
-Preheat your cast-iron skillet on medium high heat until the pan is hot.
-Now lightly coat the bottom of the pan with some cooking oil and let it heat up (it won' t take long as your pan is hot).
-Put two pork chops on the skillet at a time, making sure to leave some space between them.
-Sear each side of the pork-chop until it is cooked. Thinner pork-chops will take 10-15 mins and the thicker cuts will take about 15-10 mins to cook/
-To check for "doneness", use a steak knife to make a cut on one the pork chop. When done,it should look like chicken, if you see pink, it needs to sear some more (additional 5-8mins). The outside should be nicely seared.

-Once all the pork-chops are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with clean paper towels to absorb any excess oil and set aside.
-Once you have removed all the cooked pork chops from the skillet, do not clean the pan (those drippings that are left behind when cooking add to the flavor of the sauce).
-Add the butter to the pan.
-Add in the onions.
-Saute the onions on medium heat until they start turning a light golden color.
.At this point, add the salt and the paprika and stir.
-Add the cooking cream and the heavy cream and stir so that the salt and the paprika are well distributed.
-Return the cooked pork chops to the pan and make sure that they are coated with the sauce on both sides. Let the pork chops simmer on the skillet for 8-10mins.
**If you prefer your gravy/sauce thinner, add more heavy cream. If you find that you have added too much heavy cream and your sauce is too runny,take a tablespoon of all-purpose flour or cornstarch, mix it with a tablespoon of water and stir thorough;y to remove any lumps. Then slowly pour the mixture into the skillet and simmer until the sauce thickens.**
And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy with eggs as a breakfast meal or on a bed of creamed mashed potatoes. The options are endless!