I’ve tried no less than eight smothered pork chop recipes in the last year. That may not sound like very many, but let me tell you, when eight smothered pork chop recipes fail miserably, you might get in what I like to call a “Smothered-Pork-Chop-Recipe-Funk.” It’s an official diagnosis. I’ve had it for a while.
But I’m happy to report I have been cured of my funk thanks to this recipe. Oh, it is wonderful. Tender, fall-apart pork chops are, well, smothered in a flavorful gravy enhanced with smoky bacon, aromatic onions and garlic, a hint of thyme and a little soy sauce. The flavor in this meal is out of control. Which is why I have to insert here – right here – that although you may weep and wail and gnash your teeth at the advance prep work to get the pork chops in the slow cooker, it is worth it. Worth it, I tell you! So please don’t skip those essential steps. The browning of the pork and onions (sweetened by a touch of brown sugar – heaven!) adds a depth of flavor you won’t want to miss. And to make it up to you, I’ll send a special blog fairy to wash that skillet for you since you followed my wishes and the recipe. Ok, not really. But I will think good thoughts for you while you do it.
Even though the weather has finally warmed up here to full summer force, I’ll be using my slow cooker all hot season long. Perfect way to get a great meal on the table without heating up the whole house. I don’t know what it is about smothered pork chops but they just kind of scream Sunday Dinner to me, which is why these babies are going straight into the Sunday Dinner Rotation.
Note: I like to serve these smothered pork chops over rice or mashed potatoes. Also, if the gravy in the last step doesn’t thicken well, mix another tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons cold water and add it to the hot liquid. Let it come to a boil to ensure it thickens properly. Finally, I have doubled the pork in this recipe and kept all the other ingredients the same and there was plenty of gravy to smother the doubled pork.
- 5 slices bacon, chopped
- 6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
- Salt and Pepper
- 2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.
- Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot. Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
- Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves. Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).
- When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from The Cook’s Country Cookbook