smothered pork chops

Before I tell you anything, you have to know that these pork chops are…the best. Rich, fall-off-the-bone, flavorful and lavishly covered in a gravy that you’ll want to pour over everything. I might as well have not even seasoned my side of mashed potatoes because the sauce went all over it, all in it, under it, around it. At that point, I’m not even sure I could still called them potatoes.

These require your patience and a lot of prep work, some of it messy. No shortcuts! But it’s worth the time and effort. So so so worth it.

When they say “food fit for a king”, I’m convinced they were referring to these chops.

Smothered Pork Chops (recipe by The New York Times)
serves 8

8 thick, bone-in pork chops (more if using smaller chops)
Anise brine (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
8 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
2 quarts pork stock or chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a large nonreactive container, submerge the pork in the brine and place in refrigerator for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Then remove the chops and dry well with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
Dredge the chops in the flour, shaking off the excess. Reserve the leftover flour.

Cook the chops in the oil, about 4 minutes per side, until they are brown and crisp on the exterior, and transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium-low.
Add the onions and bay leaf and cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 15-20 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.
Add 6 tablespoons flour to the onions, stir well and allow to cook for about 4 minutes.
Slowly add the stock, stirring and scraping the pan well, until it is incorporated and the mixture is slightly thickened.
Return chops to the pot and bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook in the oven until very tender, 2 or more hours.
Transfer chops to a plate and place pot on stovetop, over medium heat.
Reduce sauce until it is thick enough to resemble gravy, skimming excess oil and foam if necessary.
Return chops to pot to reheat, then serve with their gravy over rice or mashed potatoes.

Anise Brine (recipe by The New York Times)

1 cup kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 pods star anise
4 bay leaves

In a large pot set over high heat, combine 1 gallon of water and the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved, then remove from stove.
Let cool completely and refrigerate until needed.

So tender, no steak knife needed.

p.s. Before attempting, be sure to read the entire recipe first. Some of it requires day-ahead prepwork.
%d bloggers like this: