WRITTEN ON November 9th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Dinner, Pork

We always thought my grandmother’s pork chops were the best on the planet.  My brother and I, that is.  If you asked my uncle, he’d have told you they were like hockey pucks, and could have killed someone if thrown from the back porch. Somewhere between 1958 and 1978, Mam (my grandmother, also known around this blog as Dot) changed her recipe.  And then it disappeared.

The mystery of the missing pork chops was solved a year to two after she passed away, in 2004.  I was searching though an old recipe box that I’d found in her things, and, low and behold, there it was.  I knew just by reading it: these were Mam’s famous post-1978 pork chops.  Only her secret was finally laid bare: they weren’t hers.  The recipe had come from my great-grandmother, she of gin and tonic, jello-salad fame.  Who would have thought.

They’re the most perfect fall comfort food.  I serve them over egg noodles, with brussels sprouts, but they’d be great with mashed potatoes too. They are braised on the stove top, and end up falling off the bone, no knife needed.  Make sure you get bone-in, thin chops.  No more than 1/2 an inch thick.  Sear them over really high heat (let the pan heat up for a few minutes before putting them in) for just about 30 seconds on each side to get a nice brown crust.

So, here they are, from Mam’s kitchen to yours.  These are especially near and dear to me because, through an old recipe box, I was able to be cooking in the kitchen again with my beloved grandmother.  Priceless.  Yet another reason why I love food.  Enjoy them, and make sure to keep the recipe in a place where everyone can find it.  This is one you’ll never want to lose.

Top chops

Top chops

Smothered Braised Pork Chops (serves 4)
4 ½ inch thick bone-in pork chops
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 sage leaves
1 apple, skinned, cored and sliced
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin
¾ cup low-sodium beef broth
¼ cup white wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Season chops with salt, pepper and rosemary. In a wide sauté pan with sides and a lid, heat oil, until hot but not smoking.  Sear chops, 2 at a time (if you put all 4 in at once, you’ll crowd the pan and they will steam, not sear), on either side, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until light golden.  When all chops are seared, fit all 4 in a single layer in pan, pour in beef broth until ¾ of the way up the side of the chops.  Float sage leaves in the pan, and scatter apple and onion slices on top of chops.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce to simmer. Cook, covered, about 45 minutes.  When chops are tender and falling off bone, remove to a plate. Bring remaining cooking liquid to a boil, add wine. Reduce about 5 minutes until thickened (but not as thick as gravy).  Serve chops over egg noodles or potatoes, cover in sauce.

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