Sunday, January 20, 2013

Crispy Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Gravy

The past Friday night, I was struggling with what to fix for supper. I hadn't been to the grocery store yet and really needed something to use up some center cut pork chops. I did not want the typical pork dinner and my husband happened to mention he had seen a recipe in the current "Southern Living Magazine" for fried pork chops (p.110). I did not have all of the ingredients on hand, so I adapted it to what I had and to our taste. The result was crisp and delicious. Next time, for my husband's sake, I will leave the onions out of the gravy and just make the pan gravy in the pork chop drippings. Either way you do it, this was great! This is great for a budget friendly family dinner or an elegant dinner party.

Browned Flour
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 12 inch diameter cast iron skillet, spread the all purpose flour into an even layer. Toast in the oven for 28 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes. During the last 7 minute segment, keep a close eye; you want the flour to be light brown (tan) but not burn. Remove from the oven and spoon into a bowl to cool.
*Note: To store the remaining browned flour, store in an air tight container (I used a zip top bag) in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This is great for any pan gravy you want to make. Nice toasty flavor without a lot of fat in the pan for browning the rue.

Pork Chop Ingredients
4 boneless center-cut pork chops
5 pieces white sandwich bread
1 Tablespoon dried Italian Seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
4 egg whites, beaten
4 1/2 Tablespoons Canola Oil, divided

1. Place the sandwich bread slices on a baking pan and place in the 400 degree oven. Allow to toast for approximately 5 minutes and then turn and brown the other side. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees.
2. While the bread is toasting, place each pork chop between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/8 inch thickness. I do not own a meat mallet so this is when I break out my rolling pin and get out some aggression! Lay the pork chops on a baking pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
3. Using a food processor with blade attachment, grind the toasted bread until flaky crumbs appear. Pour the crumbs into a shallow dish and add the remaining salt and pepper as well as Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.
4. Create an assembly line --- shallow dish #1 with 1/2 cup AP flour, shallow dish #2 with 4 beaten egg whites, shallow dish #3 with bread crumb mixture, and then a baking dish with a wire rack for placing the coated chops on until cooking. Run each flattened and seasoned chop through the dishes making sure to coat well on both sides. You will need to use your hands to press the breadcrumbs to the chops. Allow to sit on the wire rack until ready to cook.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of Canola Oil. Have another bowl with 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil sitting beside the skilled with a basting brush. (I will explain in a minute.)
6. When the oil in the pan is hot, place 2 chops in the pan at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes. Brush the top with some of the reserved oil and then flip to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place on another baking sheet with a wire rack. Place the baking sheet in the oven to keep the pork chops warm.
7. Repeat the process with and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil in the pan to cook the remaining 2 pork chops.
8. Keep the cooked chops in the 200 degree oven while preparing the gravy.

Caramelized Onion Gravy
1/2 Cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1/4 Cup browned flour
1 1/2 Cup skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. In a saucepan, combined the oil and onion over medium heat. Allow to brown for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you notice the onions cooking too fast, reduce the heat. We are caramelizing the onions, not frying them!
2. Add 1/4 cup browned flour and stir to combine.
3. Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure to stir constantly.
4. Add salt and pepper and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve over pork chops and mashed potatoes.

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