Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pork Chops and Onion Gravy!

Today I am doing something a little different and fun -- a recipe exchange with Savannah from Savannah's Savory Bites.  She is featuring my Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad on her blog, and I am sharing her Pork Chops with Onion Gravy!!  Her recipe was a hit with my family and has a lot of husband appeal!!  ;)  So, if you want to impress your husband tonight, why  not give this recipe a try?

Pork Chops with Onion Gravy

6 pork chops
3 medium onions, halved and sliced into half-moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons butter 
4 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon parsley
pinch cayenne
black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil or bacon grease (for browning chops and onions)

I prepared this recipe slightly differently from Savannah's original instructions, which can be found here for reference.

First of all, I doubled most of the ingredients for my large family; however, I did not double the amount of onions.  I used 3 large, sweet onions, and that was perfect.

I also streamlined the preparation, because I'm basically lazy, and wanted to dirty fewer dishes!  :)  So, whereas her instructions called for two skillets (one for the gravy and one for the pork chops), I utilized one electric skillet.  Also, she started with making the gravy . . . but I started with browning the pork chops.  This is how I did it:

In an electric skillet (or large skillet on the stove), heat 3 Tablespoons of olive oil or bacon grease.  (I do not recommend the use of vegetable oil!)  I lightly dusted both sides of pork chops with a bit of flour, salt and pepper.  Then, place pork chops in skillet and brown on both sides, being careful not to overcrowd your skillet.

When chops are browned on both sides, place on a cookie sheet (or large baking pan) in 200F oven to keep warm.  Continue this process until all chops are browned.  Then add onions to the skillet along with a couple Tablespoons of water (or I used a bit of my homemade chicken stock).  Cook over medium heat, scraping drippings from bottom of pan, until onions are soft.  Add garlic and allow to cook for 1 minute.  Remove onions from pan.  (I poured them on top of my pork chops that were staying warm in the oven.)

Add 4 TBSP butter to the skillet.  When it is melted and bubbly, whisk in 4 TBSP flour.  (If you doubled the recipe, as I did, you will want to use 8 TBSP of butter and 8 TBSP of flour.)  Allow to cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently with whisk, until this mixture is brown and bubbly.  Slowly stir in chicken broth.  Then stir in salt, thyme, parsley, and cayenne. Continue cooking over medium heat until thickened.  Reduce heat, and *if you have room* add pork chops and onions to skillet and let simmer for 30 minutes over medium low heat, until chops are cooked through and tender.  (My skillet was too full of delicious onion gravy to add all of my pork chops and onions, so I poured the gravy over the pan of pork chops in the oven instead!)

You are probably imagining this delicious gravy poured over mashed potatoes or rice (depending on where you live) -- but believe it or not, Savannah serves hers over mashed sweet potatoes!  So, I also made her Mashed Sweet Potatoes to go with my mouth-watering pork chops and onion gravy!!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

5 medium size sweet potatoes 
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons milk

Cook sweet potatoes in microwave until soft.  (I baked mine in the oven instead.)  Scoop out insides and mash.  Continue mashing/stirring and add the rest of the ingredients.  The amount of milk needed will vary depending on how moist the taters are.  Combine ingredients thoroughly and serve warm.

Combining the sweet potatoes with the savory onion gravy is a bit of a unique culinary experience, but really very pleasing!  The only change I would make is to leave out the molasses.  I don't think it was  necessary to the success of the recipe, and my family disliked the molasses flavor.  I think honey would provide a hint of sweetness without the strong taste of the molasses.

To round out this outstanding meal, I made my famous Sauteed Green Beans.  We never cook green beans in water, after discovering this delicious recipe a few years ago!  All you do is put equal parts of olive oil and soy sauce in the bottom of a wok or large skillet (I think I used about 1/3 cup of each), then fill the skillet with frozen (or fresh) green beans and cover tightly with a lid.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until green beans are tender.  I enjoy adding thin slices of colored bell peppers, onions, and a sprinkle of garlic to this recipe for variety and color.  (I love using slices of red bell pepper at Christmas for a festive side dish!)

So, there you have it -- a delicious, family-pleasing meal that will make you feel like a real chef --  Pork Chops with Onion Gravy, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Sauteed Green Beans!

Let me know if you try this meal!

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