Friday, July 26, 2013

Braised Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Do you remember that ancient comfort food recipe for pork chops baked with rice and Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, meat so tender it would fall apart on your fork? Jimmy Bannos, Jr., chef at The Purple Pig in Chicago, put a healthy, modern spin on it, and I spun it some more.  Yes, there's a lot of gravy in the picture, orange from all the carrots. You can never have too much gravy. Serves 4-6

Braised Pork Chops
2 TB EVOO or coconut oil
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless range fed pork chops, all fat trimmed off, dried with paper towels and seasoned on both sides with salt & pepper
1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 large celery ribs, roughly chopped
3 large or 4 medium carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
5 large cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
2 c chicken stock, preferably roasted for deeper flavor
5 6" sprigs thyme
5 California bay leaves (6 if the smaller Turkish ones)
2 c whole organic coconut milk

Mashed Potatoes
2+ lb Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & 3/4" diced
1/3 c whole coconut milk, scalded
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 TB EVOO or coconut oil
2-3 TB potato flour
2 TB white wine (aged in aluminum barrels, not oak)

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the pork chops about 3 minutes on each side, working in batches to avoid overcrowding or lowering the temperature too much. Remove to a plate.

Add the onion, celery, carrots & garlic to the pot, stirring occasionally until just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaves and coconut milk; bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add the pork chops back in, cover and braise on Low until the chops are falling-apart-tender, about 2 hrs.

During the last half hour of the pork chop cooking time, boil the potatoes in well-salted water till tender, 15-20 min. Drain, mash, and add enough coconut milk & EVOO to suit you (lumpy mashed = less, smooth & creamy = more). Salt & pepper to taste & keep warm.

Back to the chops & gravy:  remove the chops to a platter & over with foil. Remove & discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Ladle 3 cups of the braising liquid and as many of the vegetables as you can into a blender and puree.

In a medium saucier or saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the oil and potato flour. When it's nice and bubbling, whisk in the pureed vegetable sauce one ladle full at a time, continually whisking until the gravy is thickened. Ladle in more of the braising liquid in the Dutch oven if you need to thin it out. Whisk in the white wine and then add salt & pepper to taste. Make a bed of the mashed potatoes, top with the chops and drown in gravy.

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