Smothered Pork Chops and How I Started Cooking
My Dad was the adventurous cook in our house and he cooked on a regular basis. My Mother also cooked, but she typically made the same meals each week. Simple, fast meals, with a salad and a vegetable. She worked outside of the home, so I am sure this was the easiest way for her and typical of what was cooked at home during the 1960s and early 1970s. To her credit, we rarely ate leftovers.
I started to cook full meals by the time I was 10. I helped before this, but I have a very clear memory of the first meal I made. I was a latch key kid after school. At that time, it didn’t matter if you were home alone. Crime was extremely low in our area. There were always Mothers nearby to go to if anything happened. Every Mother in the neighborhood helped raised you and you listened to every one of them. The rules were simple. Stay inside and do your homework.
One day, my Mother called me from work. She asked me to take some Pork Chops out of the freezer to thaw. She had left a cookbook on the counter that she had just purchased from a church. Normally she would just fry the pork chops. They tended to be dry, because at that time, many people believed that pork needed to be cooked to death to kill off any bacteria.
I sat down at the kitchen table and looked through the cookbook. Even at 10 years old, I was tired of eating the same thing all the time. I found a recipe that I could make. I had watched both of my parents and Grandmothers cook for so long, the recipe seemed easy.
I cooked the main meal Smothered Pork Chops. I also made mashed potatoes to go with the gravy and a salad. My parents were so happy to have dinner ready when they got home from work and to have something different. My Father asked me what I was going to cook the next day.
After that, my Mother and I would find recipes from cookbooks that I could make during the week. I really enjoyed it. We had switched roles. I cooked and she did the dishes. I think she was just as happy about that as I was. Later, she confessed to me that she never really enjoyed cooking. I love to cook, but I hate doing dishes. A perfect solution for both of us.
Below is an updated version of that recipe.
Smothered Pork Chops
A classic smothered pork chop recipe that leaves the pork chops fork tender.
- 8 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4 inch thick
- 1 1/2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tablespoons oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- Step 1 In a small bowl, mix the garlic powder, salt, black pepper and paprika together. Set aside,
- Step 2 Pat each pork chop dry and rub each pork chop with the seasoning mix. Save any remaining seasoning.
- Step 3 Coat each pork chop with flour and set aside.
- Step 4 Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. Add the pork chops and brown each side until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Step 5 Once the meat is browned, remove from the skillet.
- Step 6 In the same skillet, add the sliced onions. Cook until translucent. Add the remaining flour and half of the water. Stir until mixed thoroughly.
- Step 7 Add the remaining seasonings to the gravy and continue to add the rest of water. Stir until mixed.
- Step 8 Turn off the heat and add the pork chops back into the gravy.
- Step 9 Cover and place in a 350 degree oven for 60 to 70 minutes. The meat should be tender and easily cut with a fork.
- Step 10 Skim off any fat on the top of the gravy before serving.
NOTE: If you have a family favorite package brown gravy that your family uses, you can a few Tablespoons of that as well.
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