Smothered Pork

Entertaining. Is it in your repertoire? Do you do it? I’m not talking about the play-legos-with-kids-for-hours or stand-up-and-sing-opera-for-an-audience type of entertaining (although kudos to you for doing both of those things). I’m talking about making-food-and-feeding-it-to-people-in-your-home entertaining. For some reason, entertaining for dinner inspires a lot of fear (I get a crazy amount of frantic, desperate emails asking for tips and strategies on entertaining).

I’ve been wanting to beef up my entertaining recipes just for this reason. To help you. So that if you find yourself in a position to host a nice-ish dinner for a group of people, you can do so with confidence and dare I say, a bit of swag. If you want to know the honest truth, I want you ending the evening feeling like a total rock star.

Smothered Pork

Today’s recipe is perfect for holiday entertaining. Not only can several components of the dish be made ahead of time (see the notes in the recipe) but it is quite pretty…and the taste-factor is off the charts. Using a pork tenderloin, you simply take the slices and pound them slightly so they are thinner (this helps them cook faster and more evenly!), bread them lightly in seasoned flour and brown them up in a little bit of butter and olive oil. The sauce comes together in a snap and is so luxurious and tasty that you might need to hide yourself in the pantry if you need a couple extra spoonfuls (always in the name of quality control, right?).

Cauliflower mash makes a wonderfully unique and delightful substitute for mashed potatoes – but you could certainly sub in classic garlic mashed potatoes in this recipe (do promise me you’ll give cauliflower mash a try soon, though). All in all, my family had no trouble agreeing that the tender pork smothered in the rich, tasty sauce makes for an absolutely incredible, stunning meal (although I think my kids’ exact words were something like “mom, this rocks”).

If you want a few ideas of side dishes that would pair perfectly with this meal, I’ve got your back (and don’t be afraid to assign the side dishes out to guests; if you provide the main dish and dessert, they’ll be more than happy to oblige I’m sure).

What To ServeSkillet Green Beans
Spinach Salad with Sweet-Spicy Nuts, Apples, Feta and Bacon
Lion House Dinner Rolls

Pomegranate Cheesecake {This can be made a day or two in advance}
Creme Brûlée {This can also be made several days in advance}
Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting {Gluten-Free; can be made a day in advance and frosted}

Smothered Pork

Also, feel free to check out the Albertsons blog for other holiday entertaining helps and ideas. And while we’re at it, here are a few of my other favorite main dish recipes for entertaining:
Tuscan Garlic Chicken
Stuffed Chicken Marsala
Roasted Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Toffee Blondie Mix in a Jar with Free Printable Tag {Sugar Rush Gift Edition #2}
Two Years Ago: 15 Top Cheesecake Recipes
Three Years Ago: Sesame Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Smothered Crispy Pork Cutlets with Cauliflower Mash

Yield: Serves 6-8

Smothered Crispy Pork Cutlets with Cauliflower Mash

The pork can be made ahead of time and kept in a single layer in a baking dish in a warm oven (set to about 170 degrees) for up to an hour. Also the cauliflower mash can be made several days in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and warmed in the microwave or in a baking dish in the oven for serving.


  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin(s), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, stems removed and discard, mushrooms halved
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Cauliflower Mash:
  • 2 heads cauliflower, florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. For the pork, slice the tenderloins into ½-inch pieces. Lightly pound with a mallet or the bottom of a small saucepan inbetween pieces of plastic wrap or inside a thick resealable Ziploc bag until each pieces is about ¼-inch thick.
  2. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge each piece of pork in the flour mixture on both sides. In a large, 12-inch skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until hot and shimmering.
  3. Add the pork in a single layer (you may need to do this in batches), leaving a bit of space between each piece, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until just cooked through (will register 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork (adding a little extra butter and olive oil if the skillet is dry). Cover the pork lightly with a lid or aluminum foil to keep warm.
  4. Once the pork has all been cooked and transferred out of the skillet, return the skillet to medium heat and add the 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter for the sauce. Add the mushrooms, shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have softened and are beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  5. Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. The flour should take on some brown color and the mixture should sizzle a bit. Gradually pour in the stock, about ½ cup at a time, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Continue adding the stock, whisking constantly to avoid lumps and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir in the half-and-half. Simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  6. Transfer the pork to a platter and pour the sauce over the top (some can be reserved to be served separately). Sprinkle with the fresh parsley. Serve the smothered pork over mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash.
  7. For the cauliflower mash, clean and trim the large stems off the heads of cauliflower. Cut the florets into pieces. Boil the cauliflower in a large pot of water until very tender, about 8-10 minutes. Drain off the water and lay the cauliflower pieces on several layers of paper towels. Pat dry until very little moisture remains (do so quickly as you want the cauliflower warm when blending). Add the cooked cauliflower to a food processor, blender or use a large bowl and an immersion blender. Toss in the butter, sour cream, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste (start with ½ teaspoon each and add more if needed). Process until thick and smooth.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired and changed from my favorite smothered chicken recipe)

39 Responses to Smothered Crispy Pork Cutlets with Cauliflower Mash

  1. Linda Boggs says:

    This looks like a wonderful dish, but I am trying to watch carbs, calories and fat……so would anyone know the nutritional value of this delicious looking dish?

  2. Anna S. says:

    I halved this tonight for our family of three, and it was a snap to make, especially because I already had mashed potatoes prepared that I just popped in the oven to heat. I omitted the mushrooms because my daughter won’t eat them and used 1% milk instead of cream to make it lower-cal, but man was this delicious! Rich, crispy and creamy but still light, we loved this! And it looked just like your picture.

  3. Made this for dinner tonight and everyone loved it. Thanx!

  4. Alexia says:

    Great recipe with a yummy sauce. It did take me forever to make, but I made the garlic mashed potatoes to go with it so maybe that was why! Perfect comfort food dinner. 🙂

  5. Natalie Feller says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. My husband loved it and it was plenty for packed lunches for several days. The sauce is to die for. Can’t wait to make it for my son when he comes home from college for Christmas next week. Going to try to sneak the cauliflower by him and see if he notices. Next time I will do the cauliflower ahead to simplify prep.

  6. jennifer says:

    More suggestions (sorry, I’m wordy). Add salt/pepper to the cauliflower and to the sauce at the very end. I used prob 1tsp of salt in the sauce, but none in the cauliflower.
    I strained out the mushrooms and lined the platter with them, as not everyone here loves mushrooms. The cauliflower gets muddy and a little sloppy with the sauce on it on the platter, so maybe just drizzle a little sauce over the meat/cauliflower on the platter, and let each person add more sauce individually. Thanks Mel!

  7. jennifer says:

    This was insanely good. I mean, oh my gosh, sooo good. Hubby loved it. Teen son liked it, but prefers mashed potatoes. Things I did differently from the recipe (I went slightly rogue): I used chicken and chicken stock. I cooked the shallots/garlic/mushrooms for 3 minutes before adding the flour. The shallots and garlic were browning on their way to too-brown. I added about 1.5T extra flour. I steamed the cauliflower instead of boiled it. Taste for salt/pepper at the end, same with cauliflower. I added no extra salt to the cauliflower (parm is salted), but added over 1tsp to the sauce. Strain out the mushrooms and line the platter with them if someone isn’t mushroom-friendly. Drizzle just a bit of sauce over the meat, but save the rest for individual pouring on their own plates, because the sauce/cauliflower gets kind of muddy looking and sloppy. For presentation, ya kinda want to keep them more separate.
    Suggestions: Make the cauliflower ahead of time. It reheated like a champ. Get it as dry as you reasonably can. It’s much softer than mashed potatoes. Once the meat is done cooking, cook the mushrooms first for 5 minutes before adding the shallot and garlic. Cook two minutes more, then add 4 1/2 T flour. Have more than 3 cups of chicken stock ready in case it gets thicker than you wanted, but I really doubt that’ll be the case.

  8. MaMaLaLa says:

    Made this last night and it was really yummy. Even hubby liked it and he isn’t a cauliflower lover.

  9. Deborah says:

    I’m not much of an entertainer, but I’m thinking I need to throw a dinner party now so I can make this. It sounds amazing!! 🙂

  10. Amanda C says:

    Mel I know you often double the sauce for many of your recipes. Would that be the case with this one as well? I am making this for Sunday dinner and want to make sure there is enough of this sauce…it looks AMAZING!

  11. Teresa says:

    This looks beyond amazing. I bet it would be good with chicken, too.

  12. Shay B. says:

    This looks awesome! I have quite a strong aversion to mushrooms. Can the sauce be made without them? Does it add to the flavor, or would I be missing something important without them?

  13. Carlie says:

    Can I steam the cauliflower instead and skip the paper towel portion? Less work makes me happy.

  14. Amy says:

    This recipe sounds wonderful. I have a basic and probably stupid question – what cut of meat do I use? When you say pork tenderloin I’m thinking of the prepackaged Hormel. Do you mean something different? Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      I think we’re thinking of the same thing, Amy. I buy the packaged pork tenderloins at Costco and I don’t remember the brand but if it’s labeled pork tenderloin, it should be right (just make sure to avoid the ones that are marinated in ingredients).

  15. Mamalala says:

    Thanks for planning my Sunday dinner for me.

  16. Kim in MD says:

    I love everything about this dish, especially the tips to make it ahead. The crispy pork with the mashed cauliflower and pan sauce looks amazing!

  17. carine says:

    Hi Mel !
    Excuse me, but I’m french and i don’t know what is the “half and half” in the sauce.
    Thank you for this recipe.

    • carine says:

      Excuse me, Mel ! I found my answer on Internet. It seems to be a mix of milk and cream. We don’t have this in France, but i can mix milk and crème fraîche to have the same result.

  18. Natalie says:

    Oh man, I just tried my first cauliflower mash tonight! It’s been on my mind for weeks. It tasted good but the texture was more like rice not mashed potatoes. I’ll have to try following your recipe, I think mine was too wet and I should have used my immersion blender-what a great idea, thanks Mel!

  19. Andrea says:

    This recipe is the birthday present! How did you know I love food like this, especially cauliflower rice or mash. I’m going to make this tomorrow, happy 29th birthday to me, thanks Mel!!

  20. Amy tracy says:

    I’m making this sometime this week. My hubby and I just got back from the store and we bought all the stuff to make it. cauliflower, broccoli and kale are winter veggies and should be cheaper this time of year. Can’t wait to make this. Thanks, Mel.

  21. Sheila says:

    I have not sent you one of those crazy, frantic emails but I have longed to do so. Thank you to the people who did that resulted in this posted entertaining recipe. Your roasted maple glazed tenderloin is my “go to” company recipe. So excited to make this one. You are simply the best!

  22. Linda | Brunch with Joy says:

    That sounds like a lot to prep, but seeing the final result totally makes me crave for these pork cutlets. Yum!

  23. This looks amazing! I love breaded pork. It’s so juicy, tender, and yummy! I’m always looking for a great entertaining recipe, so this one is perfect. Pinning!

  24. Bill says:


    Pounding the tenderloins in this recipe prompted me to pass along a great kitchen tip: I save the tough inner liners of breakfast cereal boxes just for pounding cutlets and such. They’re perfect and free!

  25. This looks delicious! We love breaded pork cutlets, and I love the idea of serving them on top of cauliflower mash. I don’t cook cauliflower nearly enough and it’s so good. Thanks for the yummy meal idea!

  26. kari says:

    Gorgeous! Makes me wish I had pork in the freezer. Definitely going on next week’s menu. 🙂

  27. That looks delicious, I love the crispy pork! I’ve never actually tried cauliflower mash but have wanted to for a while. I’m just fairly sure that certain people in my house would revolt at cauliflower replacing potatoes! Might have to try it anyways and just not say anything!

    • Mel says:

      Hey Stacey – I totally know where you are coming from. If it makes any difference, we took this meal to our neighbors and a few days later she thanked me for the “pork and potatoes” – when I told her it was actually mashed cauliflower she had no idea! I definitely can tell a difference but that’s probably because I’m the one making it. I think it’s worth trying it out to see if you can convince your family. 🙂

  28. Looks lovely and comforting Mel! I love the cauliflower mash!

  29. Liz says:

    Even though it’s a long recipe it sure sounds good. Thank you Mel.

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