Monday, April 18, 2011

Soon-to-be-Famous Smothered Pork Chops

I'll always remember this (and you should, too) as the recipe that made America's Test Kitchen start following me on Twitter. That may not be a huge deal, but it's not every day that a nationally-known magazine and cookbook publisher retweets your post and starts following you. Granted, it's because I posted a photo of this dish I made from their latest issue of Cook's Country. And I'm sure they follow all of their fans who tweet pictures to them. But still. This is an amateur foodie blogger breakthrough for me!

I'm sure this is already a famous recipe for the Test Kitchen, but perhaps it'll move me closer to the spotlight, too :)

Smothered Pork Chops
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 bone-in blade-cut pork chops
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 onions, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine onion powder, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne (I didn't have any cayenne, so I made a chili powder-cumin combo) in small bowl. Pay chops dry with paper towels and rub with spice mixture.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chops, 3 to 4 minutes per side, and transfer to plate. Melt butter in now empty skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and thyme (I used fresh instead of dried because I had it on hand) and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in 3/4 cup broth and bay leaf, scraping up and browned bits, and bring to a boil. Return chops and any accumulated juices to pan, cover, and transfer to oven. Cook until chops are completely tender, about 1 1/2 hours (I was way too hungry to wait 1 1/2 hours - it was a weeknight! - so I cooked them for more like 40 or 45 minutes. They were still tender, juicy and delicious, but I promise I'll follow the recipe correctly next time).

Transfer chops to platter and tent with foil. Discard bay leaf (I forgot this step and it ended up on my plate - whoops!). Strain contents of skillet through fine mesh strainer into large liquid measuring cup; reserve onions. Let liquid settle, then skim fat (again, we were hunrgy ... so there may have been a little fat left in the liquid). Return 1 1/2 cups defatted pan juices to now empty skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sauce is redcuced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes.

Whisk remaining broth and cornstarch in bowl until no lumps remain. Whisk cornstarch mixture into sauce and simmer until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in reserved onions and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

So would America's Test Kitchen still have followed me if they had known I took a shortcut with one of their Cook's Country feature recipes? Maybe not, but oh well! I was still super yummy, and a definite make-again. I served it alongside sauteed broccolini, using a recipe from Ina Garten. So easy, but so, so tasty.


  1. That IS a big deal! *almost* as exciting as if Ochocinco was to follow you, but keep up these super good recipe posts and he just might haha.

    Onion like that is so good. I bet you could use it as topping for other meat dishes, right? Even if it would end up proving a strange combo, I'd definitely try it!

  2. Does Ochocinco like to cook? Or eat? Maybe I should introduce myself. I'll search for his favorite food and tweet him a recipe :)

  3. Thanks for the post! I saw the episode and wanted to make this.

    1. Dave, thanks for the comment! I'm glad I was able to provide a recipe you wanted to try from an episode. I hope it turned out well!

  4. We also really liked this dish with its tender, flavorful meat. I think that this is the best cut and cooking method for this dish; I have also made the other Cook's Country recipe for Smothered Boneless Pork Ribs and the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook recipe using rib chops, and with both of those the meat was a bit dry. This recipe is the best of the bunch and very delicious!!!