Saturday dinner: Herbed Pork Chops and potatoes.

Who of you are down for some good old fashioned home goodness?  Great, can you tell me where to find some?

Just kidding.

This here recipe and I have a long history….and not a good one. I grew up with a mom that wasn’t interested in cooking and while she did it, she didn’t do it with any flare. Dad? Here is his version of flare: take two hot dogs, slice them length wise, but not all the way through. Dollop with pineapple, sprinkle w/ brown sugar and then smother with whatever kind of cheese is around…put under the broiler for 5 minutes, and wallah!

Oh yeah, he also used to break graham crackers into a bowl and pour milk over them like cereal.

We’re a class act.

Anyway, the only cookbook we had in the house was the red and white Better Homes and Gardens. It wasn’t until I was about 14 that I started to try out recipes that my mom didn’t have the patience for. (Do I hear the sirens of the grammar police?  bite me!). There were the supreme biscuits (who knew cream of tartar had a purpose besides drying canker sores). The bread pudding was a huge hit…probably due to the large amount of brown sugar in it. The pancakes, cornbread, banana bread recipes, all good. But no other recipes really stand out for me except for one. With pork!

My dad grew up on a farm.  Lots of land for wheat, soybeans…and the cows. A full dairy farm too. Ugh. I can’t even go back to visit. The cows have been gone for 25 years but I still smell them. Anyway, when I was little, Grandpa started butchering off the cattle. He didn’t have enough kids around to keep the thing going and his family needed the beef more than they needed the milk. So all of us (my dad has 3 siblings, good Catholic stock= 17 cousins!) had a deep freeze and they were filled with white butcher paper wrapped packages. All cuts of beef except for steak. Steak was an extravagance not afforded to us farm folk.

Okay, that was a long paragraph just to tell you, I didn’t grow up eating much pork.  Mom would occasionally buy bacon but when feeding a family of 7, one package didn’t go far.

Alright, back to ME!  So in highschool, when there was only my parents and me and my sister to feed, I was allowed to pick up some pork chops.  I dug through the battered old red checkered cookbook and found this recipe for herbed pork chops. It gave an option of herbs to use and I was lost.  I knew basil, oregano, cinnamon and nutmeg. None of those were options. So I dug through Mom’s spice drawer to see what she had and I came across thyme. I didn’t remember ever using it or Mom even saying it. Was it THIGHM?

So I threw the recipe together the best I could, sadly missing a couple of ingredients.  And guess what?  The parents LOVED it! I recall the pork chops being tough and I can say the 20 times I’ve made it since, the pork has been tough.  But I’ve learned my lesson….and fallen in love with this recipe again.  My most recent effort, sigh.  Heaven.  Let me tell you about it (and yes, this is my version, the best one, of course):

Creamy Herbed Pork Chops

4 pork chops cut (at least) ¾ inch thick
2 T butter
1 C shredded carrots (I buy the prepackaged stuff for weeknight meals)
½ T parsley (recipe calls for 1T and I found it overwhelming)
2 t all purpose flour
¾ t Thyme (other option Tarragon…haven’t tried it!)
½ t instant beef bouillon granules (chicken works too!)
⅔ C milk
2 T white wine or water

Trim fat from the meat. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, cook chops in butter over medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn and add carrots. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove chops and carrots. (This is where I put them in a pie plate and put them in a 350 degree oven or a warming drawer, if you’re lucky enough to have one, b/c they are almost always NOT finished cooking but will burn if left in the pan). For sauce, stir parley, flour, thyme, bouillon and 1//2 t pepper into the drippings. Add mill all at once. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in wine. Return chops, carrots and drippings to the skillet. And turn off heat.

So those are the chops. Let me tell you what will make making them extra special: have a spouse who likes to put on music when he/she comes home. Mine put on Norah Jones when I made these last. Yeah, while those chops sat for 5 minutes, I went and swayed in the arms of Adonis. Oh yeah, I’m swooning just thinking about it. Sometimes that man really knows how to push my buttons!

But back to the meal.  After I’ve trimmed the pork chops, I also chop up some potatoes. I’m lucky enough to have a guy who not only likes lumpy mashed potatoes but he likes them w/ the peel on! And nope, we’re not talking any special variety of potato. You can call bite me with your jealousy. So the potatoes, chopped into 1- 1 1/2 inch squares get tossed into a pan with about an inch of water in the bottom. I start the pot about the same time I put the chops on to cook. When the chops are done, the potatoes come off the heat, drained, a splash of milk and a dollop of butter, salt and pepper, get mashed in the pot and done.

Now, if you’re REALLY classy, you’ve peeled and diced a couple of apples and tossed them into a small pot w/ a little water and cinnamon while everything else is going on.  Apples go great with pork chops.  But I’m lazy.  I served the chops up with some bottled apple sauce. It worked.

So the meal isn’t overly complicated, measure and prep everything before turning on the heat and you’re golden. Make this a couple of times and you’ll have it down and it’ll become an easy weeknight meal…and maybe a special one too. Ooh, Adonis is putting music on again.  Gotta go!

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6 comments to Saturday dinner: Herbed Pork Chops and potatoes.

  • tulpen

    We had pork chops all the time growing up. All fancy Shake and Bake style. I haven’t eaten a pork chop since high school.

    And the recipe?

    Looks like something my husband would look very sexy preparing and cooking while I lounged on the couch drinking wine.


  • magnolia

    ooh, sounds yummy. i think i’ll try this next time we have a cooking weekend. :)


  • Cold As Heaven

    Wife was away today. The boys and I made it simple; take-away pizza. Cooking is damn boring


  • liz

    What on God’s green earth is “challenge butter?” Is it a challenge to get out of the tub? I don’t get it. :)


  • Alexandra

    oh, yeah..

    you know what I call these?

    Engagement porkchops.

    I made this for my husband to be, and he told me later it’s what made him decide he had to marry me (armless and all…gotcha!)



  • BLissed-Out Grandma

    My mom made pork chops, but skinny ones that dried out. So when I started cooking I learned to get thicker ones and not cook the life out of them. When I start cooking again (after I retire) I think I’ll try these, because the creamy sauce seems like a great addition.


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