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The past Friday night, I was struggling with what to fix for supper. I hadn’t been to the grocery store yet and really needed something to use up some center cut pork chops. I did not want the typical pork dinner and my husband happened to mention he had seen a recipe in the current “Southern Living Magazine.” I did not have all of the ingredients, so I adapted it to what I had on hand and our personal taste.
For the browned flour:
Preheat oven to 400 F. In a 12 inch diameter cast iron skillet, spread the all purpose flour into an even layer. Toast it in the oven for 28 minutes, stirring every 7 minutes. During the last 7 minute segment, keep a close eye on it. You want the flour to be light brown (tan) but not burned. Remove pan from the oven and spoon flour into a bowl to cool.
*Note: To store the remaining browned flour, store in an airtight container (I used a zip top bag) in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This is great for any pan gravy you want to make. It adds a nice toasty flavor without a lot of fat in the pan for browning the rue.
For the crispy pork chops:
1. Place the sandwich bread slices on a baking pan and place in the 400 F oven. Allow to toast for approximately 5 minutes and then turn and brown the other side for another 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 200 F.
2. While the bread is toasting, place each pork chop between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/8 inch thickness. I do not own a meat mallet so this is when I break out my rolling pin and get out some aggression! Lay the pork chops on a baking pan and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
3. Using a food processor with blade attachment, grind the toasted bread until flaky crumbs appear. Pour the crumbs into a shallow dish and add the remaining salt and pepper as well as Italian seasoning. Stir to combine.
4. Create an assembly line: shallow dish #1 with 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, shallow dish #2 with 4 beaten egg whites, shallow dish #3 with bread crumb mixture, and then have 2 baking dishes with a wire rack inside (you’ll use one for placing the coated chops on until cooking and you’ll use the other for placing the fried chops on). Run each flattened and seasoned chop through the dishes in that order (#1, #2, #3) making sure to coat well on both sides. You will need to use your hands to press the breadcrumbs into the chops. Allow coated chops to sit on the wire rack until ready to cook.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Have another bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil sitting beside the skillet with a basting brush. (I will explain in a minute.)
6. When the oil in the pan is hot, place 2 chops in the pan at a time and cook for 3-4 minutes. Brush the top with some of the reserved oil and then flip to cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place on the other baking sheet with a wire rack. Place the baking sheet in the oven at 200 F to keep the pork chops warm.
7. Repeat the process with and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the pan to cook the remaining 2 pork chops.
8. Keep the cooked chops in the 200 F oven while preparing the gravy.
For the caramelized onion gravy:
1. In a saucepan, combined the oil and onion over medium heat. Allow onions to brown for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you notice the onions cooking too fast, reduce the heat. We are caramelizing the onions, not frying them!
2. Add 1/4 cup of the browned flour and stir to combine and coat the onions.
3. Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure to stir constantly.
4. Add salt and pepper and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve over pork chops and mashed potatoes.
Feel free to customize the toppings to your taste. I like my wrap with avocado, tomato and lettuce while my husband likes the chicken on a bun as a club sandwich. The real key to this recipe is the marinade.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!