For me (and probably many others), smothered pork chops remind me of being a kid. It is a generally easy way to make sure pork chops are both cooked thoroughly and not too tough or chewy, and many houses across America have their own variation. Unfortunately, too many of those recipes rely heavily on instant soup packets and/or cans, which are loaded with sodium, unhealthy oils, and wheat. In response, I set out to make a healthy alternative without compromising on taste. Here’s how it turned out.
4 half-inch pork chops (bone-in, center cut preferred)
6oz uncured/nitrate-free bacon (about six strips), chopped
2 tbsp rice or coconut flour
1 cup each chicken and beef broth
1 tsp each sea salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped or blended
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
10 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp thyme (fresh preferred, dried okay)
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp coconut oil
To start, cook the bacon pieces in a saute pan on medium heat until crispy – next, remove the pieces with tongs and set the aside, keeping the grease in the pan. Turn the heat down to med/low and slowly stir in the flour.
Toast the flour/grease roux for a few minutes, stirring frequently until it becomes aromatic. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the bacon/pork bits that get stuck on the bottom to mix them into your roux.
Stir in the chicken and beef broths, salt and pepper. Bring to a slow boil and turn the heat down to low and leave it to simmer while you prepare your pork chops. Don’t worry if the gravy is too thin – but if it’s too thick, thin it a little with some water.
In a dutch oven, heat up 1 tsbp of the coconut oil for a few minutes on medium heat. Add the chopped/blended onions and saute until they start to become translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Scoop everything out and set aside.
Add the second tbsp of coconut oil and turn up the heat to med/high, letting it heat up for a couple minutes. Add the pork chops, and brown on each side for about two minutes. If the pork chops are too big to brown four at once, brown them in batches.
Once the pork chops are browned, layer them on the bottom of the dutch oven and turn the heat down to low. Scoop the onion/garlic mixture on top of the chops, then the mushrooms, and then the bacon. Pour the gravy over everything. Cover with a heavy lid and cook for 45 minutes on low.
Pull out the pork chops with some tongs and set them on a platter, covering them with tin foil. Turn up the heat on the dutch oven to medium, and stir the cream and thyme into the gravy. Be sure to scrape up any browned pork chop bits so they mix into the gravy. This is your opportunity to get the proper consistency with your gravy – allow it to reduce if it’s too thin, or add some water to thin it if it’s took thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Once the gravy is bubbling and at your desired thickness, pour it over your pork chops.