Thursday, May 1, 2014

Olga's Pork Chops

My friend, L, has been telling me about Olga's pork chops forever. How they are the best pork chops she has ever made, how she will never (pronounced "neva") make pork chops any other way again, how I have to try them, and then she recites the recipe. Yeah, yeah I know-- but it's a pork chop. I would nod and smile politely but I never really heard her recipe recitation, and I never cooked them. Finally one day right before she launched into the recipe recitation yet again, I politely told her not to bother because I wouldn't remember it, assuming that finally would be the end to this brow beating. But if you know L, you know it was not. She dove into her ample handbag and pulled out a blank sheet of paper and a pen and wrote the recipe out for me whether I wanted it or not. This should surprise no one because one could find almost anything in that bag. Bandage scissors anyone? The recipe sat in my to-be-tried recipe file for quite a while before I tried it.

My apologies, friend. These are the best pork chops you will ever eat.

The chops are easy to prepare, but they do take some time to cook. It's a very forgiving recipe with a lot of wiggle room. You could use any cut, thickness, or quantity of pork chops you'd like. You just need to adjust the other ingredients accordingly.

For me, the star of this dish is the caramelized onion. For two people I start with one very large onion sliced thinly. I put it to cook in some olive oil, then continue to cook the slices low and slow over medium low heat until they are soft and caramel colored--for about 30 minutes. Then I season them with salt and remove them from the skillet.
I like to use 2 center cut, bone-in pork chops about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  Beat one egg. Then in a shallow bowl mix one tablespoon flour with enough plain dry breadcrumbs to coat the 2 chops. According to Olga, yes there is an Olga, you can use all breadcrumbs, all flour, or a mixture of the two. Wiggle room. Heat some olive oil in the skillet, dip each chop in the beaten egg, then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, and saute in hot oil until browned on both sides.
Now you add about a cup of stock--I have used either beef or chicken--depending on how many chops you are cooking. Return the onions to the pan, cover with a lid, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours depending on the thickness of the pork chops. I check every now and then and baste the chops with the stock. Add more water to the pan if you need to.
Now you can try the best pork chops you have ever eaten.