America is a land full of comfort dishes. If you are looking for the best food that America has to offer, then you are not going to find it in the high end fine dining restaurants in the major metropolis areas. Most of the food that is served in such restaurants can be quite pretentious and unnecessarily expensive. The best food in America is the one that is cooked at home, by people passionate home cooks who know how to make the best use of fine American produce. When you cook with fresh ingredients and you put your heart and soul into the food, the end product is bound to be insanely delicious. The best thing about these delicious home cooked meals is that most of them can be categorized as comfort food. In other words, these foods are easy to cook, easy to eat and provide tons of satisfaction to people of all ages. When it comes to comfort food in America, there are very few dishes that can be more appealing than smothered pork chops.
Smothered Pork Chops: What Are They?
For those of you who are not too familiar with smothered pork chops, this is basically a classic pork dish that has been spiced up with onion gravy. It is a very easy recipe to make, which makes it a highly desirable comfort food. Also, it is the kind food that you can serve with rice, cornbread and a traditional side dish of your choice. Smothered pork chops can be enjoyed all round the year, but making it during the holidays is highly recommended as it is going to be a lovely addition to your holiday feast.
The Importance of Selecting the Right Ingredients
Even though we have mentioned that making smothered pork chops is going to be a quite an easy task, there are a few things that can go wrong. The errors begin with the selection of ingredients. Many home cooks make the mistake of cooking with frozen and borderline stale meat, vegetables and spices. This is something that you should avoid at all costs. Cooking with fresh and high quality ingredients is half the battle. Before you start preparing for the dish, you should head out to the local farmer’s market and grab the best ingredients that you can buy at an affordable price. The use of fresh local produce will elevate your dish to a whole another level. It could even turn your simple and humble homemade meal into a stunning restaurant quality dish. Hence, you should never underestimate the importance of cooking with fresh ingredients. Never cook with old, stringy vegetables and low quality meat. Using such ingredients can jeopardize your dish, regardless of how good you are in the kitchen.
The Key to Cooking the Perfect Smothered Pork Chops
Along with the ingredients, it is important for you to choose the correct cooking utensil. The most sensible option is to use a heavy or cast iron skillet for this particular recipe. The skillet should be big enough to easily accommodate four 3 inch thick pork chops. Make sure that there is a little bit of space in between the pork chops. You do not want them to stick to each other as they cook. The key to making fine smothered pork chops is cooking the meat quickly at first and then letting it simmer slowly in low heat. This ensures that the cooked meat turns out moist, tender and juicy. Also, cooking the gravy and the pork together infuses the flavour of the gravy into the meat. This gives the meat a rich, heavenly taste that you would not have obtained if the two key components of the dish were cooked separately.
Step by Step Recipe
Rinse the four pieces of pork chops and then dry them off with clean paper towels. For seasoning, you need to use half a teaspoon of paprika and black pepper each, two teaspoons of garlic and another couple of teaspoons of salt. Three quarters of the combined seasoning should be rubbed on to each piece of pork chop. Each chop should then be coated with flour.
Heat half a cup of vegetable oil in the skillet and brown the chops for 3 minutes on each side. Take them out of the pan.
The next step is to cook thinly sliced sweet onions in the pan till they are golden brown. Add a bit of flour and water to the cooked onions. Use your judgement when deciding the quantities.
Keep stirring the mixture to produce the gravy. It should be fragrant and not too thick. Add couple of cups of water to dilute the gravy. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. At this point in time, get the chops back into the pan and turn the heat down to a simmer. The cooking continues for an hour at the end of which the meat should become tender and unbelievably moist. Add extra seasoning before taking the chops off the pan.