So simple, yet so delicious. These pork chops braise in an herb-infused stock and are topped off with a creamy and savoury onion gravy.
One of my favorite things to eat is pork chops.
Since I buy them in bulk when they are on sale at often ridiculously cheap prices, I always have plenty on hand. Since I buy a lot in bulk, I make sure to vacuum seal all my meat before I freeze it. I have this sealer and it has saved me lots of money I wasted when stuff got freezer burn.
I knew I had a load of them in my chest freezer from a sale (99 cents per pound and center-cut rib too) a few months ago. One thing I try to do is make them different ways and I wrack my brain sometimes trying to come up with something different and tasty.
My inspiration for these comes from my friend Lillian who blogs over at My Recipe Journey. Lillian and her family love pork chops too so she’s always making them.
I can’t say that I got this one from Lillian, but just thinking about her brought up the idea for these. I call her my “muse” and this proves it!!!
The herb(s) you use here for the infusion–just a fancy word for letting the chops braise in the flavored stock–is up to you. I love thyme so that’s what I used. Sage would be really good too since it’s a traditional herb used with pork. But don’t be afraid to get adventurous and use something you like or that’s really different. Only thing I would caution when adding any herb is to start with a pinch–then taste. Some herbs, especially sage and rosemary, can be quite strong. Remember you can always add more!
The onion also adds to the great flavor of the gravy. This gravy was SO yummy, I actually licked the plate! I would say that the excellent flavor was partly due to the chops being bone-in. I prefer bone-in chops for many reasons, but in any braised dish, the presence of the bone is responsible for plenty of flavor.
I tend to reduce any stock I get from this cooking method because not only does it taste better, but most times the reduction is thick enough that the “gravy” doesn’t require any thickening for the proper consistency. However, if you are pressed for time, it’s totally OK to thicken this with flour or cornstarch. I always keep a can of Wondra just for this purpose!
The au jus gravy mix added just enough salt for my taste, but taste the stock after the 20 minute cook time for the chops and you can add additional salt then.
- 4 large bone-in center-cut rib pork chops (about ½-inch thick)
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1½ cups chicken stock (I use unsalted)
- ½ tsp thyme (or herb of your choice)
- 2 tbs au jus gravy mix
- ¼ cup cream (preferably heavy cream)*
- Optional Thickening:
- 2 tbs flour mixed with ¼ cup water -OR- 2 tbs cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water
- If using half-and-half or light cream, you may need to thicken.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Brown pork chops well on all sides--you may have to do this in shifts depending on how large your chops are
- Remove browned pork chops from pan and set aside.
- Add onion to the same pan and saute over medium-low heat until onions are translucent.
- Add the stock, thyme (or herb of choice) and the au jus mix; stir to blend.
- Add pork chops back to the pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- The au jus gravy mix added enough salt for my taste, but taste the liquid at this point to see if you need to add any to your own taste.
- TO MAKE GRAVY
- Remove pork chops to a plate and keep warm (I usually put them on an oven-proof plate and pop them in a 200F oven).
- Turn heat to medium-high, add the cream, stirring to blend it well, and allow the liquid to reduce by about one third. This should take about 8-10 minutes.
- Thicken if you want thicker gravy.
- SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS
- Brown chops as in original recipe. Set aside.
- Deglaze browning skillet with stock.
- Add stock, chopped onions, au jus mix and herb(s) to crock pot; stir.
- Lay chops on top of liquid.
- Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours (4-6 on high)**
- Remove chops and stir in cream.
- Turn cooker to high and thicken with either flour or cornstarch (see ingredient list for suggested thickening), if desired (but you'll probably have to).
- Cook on high about 10 minutes.
- **slow cooker times are approximate. Always check at MINIMUM time