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Smothered Pork Chops with Creamy Onion Gravy
Smothered pork chops have long been a staple of traditional southern cooking. In my version, juicy chops are seared, then covered with caramelized onions, finished in the oven and served with a sumptuous gravy; it's absolutely delicious. Use one onion for each chop you are going to prepare plus one for the gravy. The gravy makes about 2½ cups so if you're preparing more than four servings you may wish to adjust accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix together in a plastic bag the sage, thyme, salt and pepper along with the flour. Place a chop in the bag and shake to coat well with the seasoned flour. Shake off any excess flour and remove to a platter. Repeat until all chops are well coated. Place the chops in the fridge for about a half hour to let the coating adhere to the meat.
While the chops are in the fridge melt the butter in a large, oven proof pan over medium heat until the foaming subsides. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown and nicely caramelized - this will take 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the onions to a bowl and set aside.
Add oil to the pan and allow to heat until it fizzles when you drop in a little flour. Add the chops and sear until browned, 1 to 2 minutes on each side (with thick chops I'll turn them on their sides and brown those as well). When the chops are nicely browned top each with some of the caramelized onions (making sure to reserve some for the gravy) and place in the oven to finish cooking.
The pork chops should cook until the internal temperature is 145 to 150 degrees (any longer and they will dry out). How long this takes will depend on many variables: the size of the chops, how long they were seared, the accuracy of the oven, etc., but figure about 6-8 minutes. Remove the chops to a platter and return the pan to the stovetop to make the gravy.
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan depending on how much oil is remaining after cooking the chops - you should have about 2 tablespoons all together. When melted add the flour and whisk until it is combined with the butter and oil. Continuing whisking for an additional minute or so to allow the roux to brown slightly.
Continue whisking while slowly adding the broth, then the cream. Add the sage the reserved onions. Allow the gravy to return to a simmer while whisking occasionally until well thickened. If the gravy is too thick add some additional broth or milk. Adjust for salt pepper.
Serve the chops with some of the gravy spread on top of the onions and serve the rest to the table.
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