September is just over the hill and will mark a return to cooking up comfort food. This Cook's Country recipe is a favorite of mine. Thick, bone-in pork chops become incredibly tender after braising in one of the most remarkable, southern-style gravies I have ever tasted. I like to serve the chops with buttered, dumpling egg noodles. (Note: Follow step #4 very carefully. To get the gravy to the correct consistency, only use 1/4 cup of fat.)
2 tablespoons Lawry's Seasoned Salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and ground black pepper
4, 10-ounce bone in pork chops, about 1-inch thick
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 onions, quartered through root end and sliced thin crosswise
3 cups water
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Combine seasoned salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, paprika, and 1 teaspoon pepper in bowl. Pat chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle each chop with 1 teaspoon spice mixture (1/2 teaspoon per side).
- Combine 1/2 cup flour and 4 teaspoons spice mixture in shallow dish. Dredge chops lightly in seasoned flour, shake off excess, and transfer to prepared rack.
- Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add 2 chops to skillet and fry until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Let excess oil drip from chops, then return chops to rack. Repeat with remaining 2 chops.
- Transfer fat left in skillet to liquid measuring cup. Return 1/4 cup fat to skillet and stir in remaining 1/2 cup flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until roux is color of peanut butter, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onions and remaining 4 teaspoons spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until onions begin to soften slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly stir water into roux mixture until gravy is smooth and free of lumps. Bring to simmer and cook until gravy begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Pour half of gravy into 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Nestle browned chops in dish, overlapping slightly as needed. Pour remaining gravy over chops and cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 1-1/2 hours.
- Carefully transfer chops to serving dish. (Chops will be delicate and may fall apart.) Use wide spoon to skim fat from surface of gravy. Add vinegar to gravy and season with pepper to taste. Pour gravy over chops. Serve.
Wine pairing: It's time to be a hero and rescue some Merlot trapped in a bottle. I have found Shafer Merlot to be incredibly grateful.