Monday, July 17, 2017

Smothered Pork Chops

Smothered Pork Chops

This recipe for Smothered Pork Chops is a fast meal elegant enough for company but simple enough for a weeknight dinner.

close up image of a tray of creole style smothered pork chops


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I'm working with the Ohio Pork Council, focusing on everyday recipes using different cuts of pork to share the versatility of this protein. Over the coming year (which, like an academic year or the federal government's fiscal year has nothing to do with the calendar year) I'll be posting a number of recipes as part of this partnership. I'm clear on my purpose for this website, sharing practical support for local eaters, so you know I'll be bringing a local, seasonal perspective to my recipes. Next month I'll be sharing a recipe using ground pork and green tomatoes, then later in the year we'll explore bacon and leftover ham.


pic of a perfectly cooked pork chop showing a blush of pink



To kick off this series, the Ohio Pork Council invited me along to a farm dinner. "You want me to come out, get fed, then write about it? I'm in." I apologize for the quality of the location photos. While we were coordinating the date for this event, the military up and transferred my spouse to his new assignment in Minnesota so all of the images are mine. You can see his photographs of Oakview Farms in my post about my visit with the Runyan family, How to Grill the Perfect Pork Chop.


view of the country lane with cornfields on either side of the road
To set the stage, here's what I saw when I turned off the highway--a road curving off into the distance with healthy stands of corn on either side. I felt myself relaxing at that moment--the rush to finish up at work (I'd left a pot of cioppino to simmer and raced out the door) and worry about being late melted away. I'm guessing my instinctive reaction is due to my Dad growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin. A rural lane surrounded by cornfields = happy childhood memories of visiting my grandparents imprinted onto my subconsciousness. Introspection aside, I was in the right frame of mind when I arrived at the Surber farm.


John and Connie Surber are the 5th of going on 7 generations of hog farmers in Sabina, Ohio. They started off making animal feed (10 to 12 different formulations just for young pigs alone if I got that right) and then later added a Mother Barn for momma pigs (sows) having babies (farrowing) up thru weaning (3 weeks for piglets vs 3 years for my daughter). [For a peek at how hogs are raised after weaning, please see Heather's visit to Uncle Squeals' operation.] The Mother Barn is biosecure--that means showering in and out to keep the hogs healthy and the pork free of antibiotics.


scenes from the farm dinner at the Surber family hog farm


The Surber family hosted this farm dinner, but it sure was a group effort. The event was coordinated by Heather, The Food Hussy, aka my pork pimp. I met two more fellow Ohio food bloggers, Nicole of Brown Sugar  along with her darling son and her mom, and Jill the Foodtastic Mom along with her enthusiastic kiddos. After John & Connie, and Neil Rhonemus (Uncle Squeals himself) talked about raising hogs, Chef Matt and Chef Jeff of Colonel De Gourmet Herbs & Spices shared how to cook several cuts of pork.



This recipe for Smothered Pork Chops is a fast meal elegant enough for company but simple enough for a weeknight dinner.



Pork is so versatile and Chef Matt and Chef Jeff did a terrific job highlighting this fact. First off, Chef Matt demonstrated smothered pork chops. Next, they switched gears and cuts of meat to demonstrate the technique for making schnitzel from pork loin. Finally, Chef Jeff grilled pork sliders served with sautéed mushrooms and a smoked gouda mayo. I'm sharing one recipe below, because that's the one I got the best pictures of, but if I had to pick a favorite I'd go with the sliders because I'm smitten by the smoked gouda mayo and the flavor of sautéed mushrooms with ground pork.


close up image of a ground pork slider with sautéed mushrooms and smoked gouda mayo


All good meals end with a sweet finish, and our farm dinner was no exception. Casey McIntosh of Batter Up Bakery in Leesburg, Ohio provided 2 types of desserts and, in the interests of fairness and accurate reporting I sampled both. I'm delighted with Casey's business model--the bakery's ingredients, from eggs to berries to leaf lard, are locally sourced. Casey brought a triple berry cobbler (so good!) and parfaits. This is such a great idea for entertaining! She made one type of cake (lemon), 2 types of buttercream (almond and raspberry), and 3 types of fruit sauces (strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry). After that, she assembled an assortment of individual parfait glasses with various combinations of sauce, cake, and buttercream. I tried the raspberry sauce with lemon cake and almond buttercream and it was wonderful.


Chef Matt of Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices


I like to watch videos of people cooking. Not so much for what is being cooked (I can search for recipes with the best of them), but more for how. The little tips and tricks that come to light while folks are doing what they know and love. Even though cooking is both my job(s) and my hobby, I'm constantly expanding my knowledge base by observing how other people cook. With that in mind, I had my phone out and recorded Chef Matt while he prepared Smothered Pork Chops, and I've clumsily edited a highlight reel for your enjoyment and education.




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This recipe for Smothered Pork Chops is a fast meal elegant enough for company but simple enough for a weeknight dinner.


To be clear, the Ohio Pork Council has compensated me for my time as well as fed me deliciously, as shown in this post.

2 comments:

  1. It all looks delicious. Good luck with working with Council and thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Working with the Council is a wonderful opportunity and quite tasty, too!

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