I grew up in southern California, but spent my high school and college years in Tennessee, and a little time in Texas and surrounding areas as well. As such I think I have learned a lot of amazing things about southern food to add to my repertoire.
One of the easiest and tastiest of those dishes is smothered pork chops. It can be adapted to your favorite flavors, and it uses relatively few dishes and ingredients.
I start with some bacon, sliced sweet onions and cremini mushrooms. I rendered the bacon and sautéed it all briefly in a cast-iron skillet, until the vegetables were tender. Then I removed the vegetables and bacon (leaving the bacon grease and juice in the pan), then added more vegetable oil and the coated pork chops.
I like to use a bone-in pork chop, but you can also use a boneless tenderloin slice or other similar cut. I also prefer the flour coat/ egg wash / breadcrumb dredging, but feel free to switch it up to use your favorite coating or flavored batter (although I have to say, personally, I think bread crumbs keep the pork chops nice and crispy even after smothering). Once the chops have been browned on each side, remove them from the pan and set aside.
For the sauce, I like to add the bacon, mushrooms and onions back to the pan with a cup or so of chicken stock, then whisk in cream or milk and some corn starch to thicken the sauce. You can also make a roux of butter and flour in the pan, then add the veggies, cream and stock until it thickens.
Once the sauce is thick and creamy (check the seasonings at this point, too, and add more if necessary), add the pork chops BACK IN for a few minutes in the gravy.
If you make sure the chops are both well-coated and fried very well at very high temperature, then they will retain their crispy outer shell even when they are drowned in sauce.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
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