Smothered Pork Chops

Smothered Pork Chops

4 oz. bacon, diced (about 4 slices)

3 T. all-purpose flour

1 3/4 C. homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth

1 T. vegetable oil

4 pork chops, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick

1 t. kosher salt, divided

1 t. freshly ground pepper

2 medium onions, halved and then sliced thin

2 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 t. minced fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

1 T. finely minced parsley leaves

Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat until it is lightly browned and the fat is rendered, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the browned bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside on a small plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gradually stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, working out any lumps that may form. Continue stirring constantly, reaching into the edges of the pan, until the mixture is light brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the chicken stock in a slow, steady stream while vigorously stirring with the wooden spoon. Once the stock is incorporated, you can stop stirring and reduce the heat to low to keep the sauce warm.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers, which may take 2 to 3 minutes, depending on your stove. Meanwhile, pat the chops with paper towels until they are very dry – this is a crucial step that will allow a brown, delicious crust to form on the chops. Once the chops are dry, season both sides with half the salt and all the pepper. Place the chops in the pan in a single layer and cook until a deep brown crust forms, about 2 minutes on the first side (don’t move the chops at all for at least a minute and a half, or you will tear off the crust).

Turn the chops over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside on a plate.

Reduce the heat in the skillet that the chops were in to medium, and add the onions and remaining salt.

Cook, stirring frequently and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pan, until the onions begin to soften and brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds longer. Return the chops to the pan in a single layer, and cover each chop with onions.

Pour in the warm sauce, add the bay leaves, and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chops (leave the onions in the skillet) to a warmed plate and cover with foil. Increase the heat to medium high and, stirring frequently, cook until the sauce thickens to a gravy like consistency, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, and taste the sauce. Add more salt or pepper if needed. Cover each chop with a portion of the sauce, sprinkle with the reserved bacon and serve immediately with egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

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