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This easy Smothered Pork Chops recipe is a Southern classic and true soul food that always satisfies. The velvety, savory gravy and tender, juicy pork chops go so well together and are as perfect for weeknight cooking as they are for Sunday supper.
Southern Smothered Pork Chops
I was talking with a friend about these pork chops the other day and she mentioned that they don’t eat pork chops very often.
Which is too bad because they are so delicious when prepared properly and they are such a nice change from chicken or beef.
We love to eat these creamy apricot pork chops, or sometimes we will just grill pork chops with barbecue sauce just like we would grill chicken and it makes an excellent protein for dinner.
But these pan fried pork chops are one of the most comforting approaches to making savory, seasoned pork chops with gravy that are completely wonderful served with rice (or potatoes, or noodles) on the side and some nice, dark green veggies.
How Do You Make Smothered Pork Chops Tender?
The real secret to making tender smothered pork chops is to cook it low-and slow in a flavorful onion gravy.
First you will brown the pork chops which have been lightly dredged in a seasoned flour mixture, then set aside the partially cooked chops while you prepare the sauce.
After softening some onions and garlic in the same skillet or pan used to brown the pork chops, you will make a roux with butter and flour to both add flavor and thicken the rich, savory gravy.
Then the pork chops get added back into the pan with the onion gravy and covered with a lid so they can simmer at a low temperature until the pork chops are melt-in-your-mouth tender and the flavors have built on each other.
It’s ridiculously good, and so totally comforting.
Historically Hungry – Old Recipes Made New
I wanted to share this post on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a way of celebrating and remembering the civil rights movement. So my friend Jenni from The Gingered Whisk and I joined forces to share recipes for foods that fueled the civil rights movement.
Many of the most pivotal events in the history of the civil rights movement occurred in the South, so much of the food associated with civil rights are Southern or soul food. Which is quite possibly my favorite cuisine of all-time, as evidenced by the number of Southern recipes you will find on this site.
I decided to include this smothered pork chops recipe in my American Eats series for Alabama, which is where the civil rights movement really started in Montgomery in 1955. It was on Dec. 1, 1955 that Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus just because of the color of her skin.
But these would also fit well for Georgia since pork chops smothered in sauce were a signature dish at a restaurant called Paschal’s in Atlanta, where many of the civil rights leaders would meet to eat and talk and discuss what to do to move the nation forward in the 50’s and 60’s as the civil rights movement progressed.
There the leaders of the civil rights movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would also eat fried chicken, collard greens, peach cobbler, cornbread, and sweet tea, in addition to their famous smothered pork chops. This National Geographic article does a great job of discussing some of the foods of the civil rights movement and was a big source of inspiration for me in creating this post.
My friend Jenni is covering dessert by sharing an amazing looking coconut bundt cake on her blog today along with more information on the intersection of food and history surrounding the civil rights movement, particularly the Club from Nowhere which was a group of women who held bake sales as a way of funding the Montgomery bus boycott.
Many women held bake sales to raise funds to support the civil rights movement and coconut cakes were a popular item that they made and sold.
This is our way of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and sharing an important part of history with our families, teaching them the values that we uphold and the struggles so many went through to obtain equal rights that we often take for granted today.
How to Make Smothered Pork Chops
This smothered pork chops recipe is actually very easy to prepare and uses only pantry staples that you already have on hand. It will work with either bone-in or boneless pork chops, although I prefer bone-in because I feel like it adds flavor and helps keep the pork chops tender and moist.
- Start by seasoning the pork chops with salt and pepper, then dredging them in a mixture of flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper. It’s not enough cayenne pepper to make these spicey – it just adds depth of flavor to the pork chops and the gravy that you will love. Don’t discard all of that flour used for dredging. Save some for making the roux to thicken the gravy later on.
- Brown the pork chops in a large skillet with a little oil. This doesn’t take very long since we aren’t cooking the pork chops through at this point. Once they are brown on both sides, set the pork chops on a plate and work on the gravy.
- Saute onions in the same pan that you used for browning the pork chops, adding the garlic towards the end once the onions are soft.
- Push the onions to one side of the pan and make the roux in the other side by melted butter, then sprinkling some of the reserved flour mixture over it and cooking for 5-6 minutes until brown.
- Whisk in chicken broth and water to make the sauce, then add the pork chops back into the pan.
- Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 25-35 minutes (it will depend on the size and thickness of your pork chops) until tender and the gravy has thickened slightly (enough to coat the back of a spoon).
- Serve with hot rice, mashed potatoes, or egg noodles.
More Southern Comfort Food Recipes You’ll Love
- Hush Puppies
- Southern Tomato Pie
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecans
- Pecan Pie
- Best Homemade Biscuits and Gravy
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Fresh Peach Cobbler
- Homemade Banana Pudding
- 4 bone-in pork chops, about 3/4- to 1-inch thick
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Cooked hot rice for serving
- Season the pork chops by sprinkling with the salt and pepper on all sides. In a shallow dish, combine the flour, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Lightly dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess flour and reserving 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture for the sauce.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, brown the pork chops by cooking for about 3-4 minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the onions to the pan and saute for 5 minutes, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once the onions have softened and begun to brown slightly, add the garlic and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Push the softened onions to one side of the pan and add the butter to the empty side of the pan. Once the butter has melted, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the reserved flour mixture used for dredging the pork chops over the butter and stir constantly, cooking for 5-6 minutes to create a nice, dark roux. It should be about the color of peanut butter. Whisk in the chicken stock and water.
- Increase the heat to medium-high to bring the sauce to a boil and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Once the sauce is boiling, nestle the pork chops into the sauce, cover the skillet with a lid, and decrease the heat to medium-low.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes, until the pork chops and tender and cooked through and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon (it will still be a fairly thin sauce rather than a thick gravy). Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve the pork chops over hot rice with extra sauce spooned over the top.
Adapted from Grandbaby Cakes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 596Saturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 1633mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 41g
Curious about foods from other states in my American Eats series? Check them out below!
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