In times of distress, like when all of your favorite sports teams suffer crushing defeats in one weekend, there aren’t too many pick-me-ups better than an enormous plate of comfort food. This comforting meal was a few days in the making, but I was glad I had a cooking project to take my mind off of the Braves on Tuesday night. These pork chops are a two day project because they need to be brined overnight, so I put these in a brining liquid right before I left to go see the Falcons play the Jets at home on Monday night. After leaving the Falcons game, listening to their miraculous comeback and subsequent brutal one point loss on the radio, I arrived home in time to watch the Dodgers beat the Braves to end their season. By Tuesday night, I was happy to ring in #porkchoptober and pretend that sports didn’t exist.
And this meal was incredible – easily good enough to distract me for a night. Even though it takes a little planning, it’s sort of a “set it and forget it” deal. Once you take the pork chops out of the brine, you brown them and cook them for a couple of hours in a big pot with onions and chicken stock. That’s really about it, and the result is an enormous, fork-tender chop with an almost offensive amount of gravy. After all, if you’re looking for comfort, what is gravy if not a blanket for your arteries?
2 thick cut, bone-in pork chops
1 very large sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
4 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 gallon anise brine (recipe here)
- In a non-reactive container like a ziploc bag or glass bowl, submerge pork chops in the brine. Leave pork chops to brine overnight.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove pork chops from brine and pat them dry with a paper towel. You’ll notice that the meat is firmer than when it went in the brine overnight. Melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat as you dredge the pork chops in flour. Reserve the flour.
- Brown the floured chops on each side for about 4 minutes, or until they’re nicely colored. Remove from pot and add sliced onions. Cook the onions, stirring often, for 10-15 minutes until they are softened and beginning to color. Add flour and stir until well combined.
- Slowly add chicken stock to onion and flour mixture, stirring constantly. The mixture should thicken slightly. Add pork chops back to pot, tightly cover and put the pot in the oven for 2 hours, longer if desired.
- After two hours in the oven, remove the pot and place it back on the stove. Remove the pork chops from the pot, and turn the heat up to high underneath the remaining gravy. Let the gravy bubble and reduce to desired thickness, probably 10-15 minutes. Serve the pork chops smothered in gravy with potatoes or rice and some sort of vegetable.