More Comfort Food… Smothered Pork Chops!

Last Friday Matt sent me an email that said “Let’s make something blog-worthy this weekend.”  Ha!  I guess that means we were eating really boring meals last week, right?  🙂  I immediately agreed to Matt’s proposal and Matt spent the better part of an hour paging through our voluminous The Best New Recipe cookbook on Saturday before settling on a wonderful Fall feast:  Smothered Pork Chops.

Despite being a Fall “comfort food” recipe, we were still able to use several ingredients fresh out of our summer garden including thyme, parsley and garlic.  The rest of the ingredients are mostly standard pantry items which meant that we only had to go out to purchase the bacon, pork chops and onions.  This meal takes a while to prep and cook, but I guarantee you that the smell of the simmering pork chops and onions in a thyme-garlic broth will be MORE than worth every minute!

Smothered Pork Chops with Onions and Bacon (adapted from The New Best Recipe)

You will need…
3 slices Bacon, cut into 1/4″ pieces
2 tablespoons Flour
1 3/4 cups Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons Peanut Oil
3 Thin-Cut Bone-In Pork Chops, patted dry with a paper towel
Ground Black Pepper
2 medium Yellow Onions, halved and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons Water
2 Garlic Cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thyme
2 Bay Leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh Parsley
1 package Egg Noodles, cooked accordingly to package instructions

Fry the bacon in a small pot or saucepan over medium heat until the bacon is browned and the fat has rendered, approx. 8-10 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon bits and set aside on a paper towel lined plate for later use.  Whisk the flour into the bacon fat over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is light brown.  Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and then bring the mixture to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the Oil over high heat until smoking.  Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper over the pork chops and then transfer them to the skillet and allow to brown – approximately 3 minutes per side.  (Watch out – the oil will splatter so use a splatter guard!)  Remove the browned pork chops and set aside on a plate.

Reduce the skillet heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon oil, onions, 1/4 teaspoon salt and water.  Scrape up the browned bits of pork with a wooden spoon.  Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and are turning brown around the edges, approximately 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and stir until fragrant for about 30 seconds.  Return the pork chops to the skillet, cover with the onions and add in the reserved sauce and bay leaves.  Cover and allow to simmer over low heat until the pork is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the pork to a serving platter and tent with foil.  Increase the heat of the onion mixture to medium-high heat and simmer, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Remove the bay leaves, stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the finished sauce over the pork chops.  Sprinkle each smothered chop with the reserved bacon bits and serve over a bed of egg noodles.

Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwiches

Last night we bought an 8 pack of sandwich buns since we needed rolls for our yummy salmon burgers.  We knew that we’d have lots of rolls left over so we planned another sandwich-centric meal for tonight with some of my favorite grilled ingredients: sausage, peppers, and onions!  It was still 70 degrees at dinnertime so we built a fire in our fire pit and spent the evening sitting out on the patio.

Sausage, Pepper and Onion Sandwiches

You will need…
1 Red Pepper, cut into thin strips
1 Yellow onion, cut into thin strips
Olive Oil
2 Sausages (Matt had Kielbasa, I had Hot Italian Sausage)
4 Sandwich Buns, sliced in half lengthwise

Place the red pepper and yellow onion on a bowl together and drizzle with olive oil.  Toss to coat.  Transfer the peppers and onions to a grill pan and place on a preheated grill.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes until the peppers and onions are tender.  When we cook peppers and onions (or any small veggies that benefit from a good “toss” as they grill) we use a stainless steel Grill Chef’s Pan with a removable handle.

Uncooked Peppers and Onions in the Chef's Grill Pan

While the veggies cook, place the two sausages on the grill.  If you have the ability to control the heat on the sausage side of the grill, increase it to high heat (but leave the veggies at medium).  Cook the sausages over high heat for approx. 6 minutes per side (or longer if you’re using medium heat).

Sausage, Peppers and Onions Grilling

If desired, lightly toast the buns on the grill by placing them cut face down over medium heat.  Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!

In order to fit the sausages neatly on our round sandwich buns, we sliced the cooked sausages in half and then sliced each piece lengthwise.  Place the sausage on the buns and top with grilled pepper and onion mixture.  Enjoy your completed sandwich while lounging outside by a fire pit if at all possible… it makes it taste even better!