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No-Recipe Smothered Pork Chops


Good morning. I wanted to make smothered pork chops (above) in the middle of last week, a feed for a day when things are generally falling apart in the kitchen and in our lives, everyone caught between weekends, a little frantic or bummed, with no desire to shop or follow instruction or really do anything more than receive comfort.

I had the idea around 10 in the morning, a few hours into a shift and a great many ahead of me before I could scooch out to get supplies. I checked the recipe again. It called for three hours of cooking after a 12-hour soak of the pork chops in brine. My idea wasn’t going to work, and I was saddened, as many are on Wednesdays, facing facts.

But I made the dish anyway. And you can, too, at least if you believe in the precepts of no-recipe recipes and especially if you’ve followed the crowds and gotten yourself an electric multicooker. (You don’t need one. You can always cook in one pan on the stove, letting everything bubble along under a lid until the meat collapses. But it helps to use the science machine. The stovetop version will leave you eating late.)

So here’s a nice Wednesday-night meal. Buy the thickest pork chop you can for each person you’re serving, on the bone and hopefully with a jaunty cap of fat. Salt and pepper the chops, herb them up as you like, rub them with flour and then brown each one hard in a pan dressed with oil or bacon grease. Set the browned chops aside and cook a whole lot of chopped onions in the remaining fat in the pan, then hit them with a few tablespoons or up to half a cup of flour, stirring and cooking until the whole lot of it goes dark and caramel and a little bit dry. Add enough chicken stock to make the onions turn into a kind of gravy, then watch it thicken and add a little more stock but not too much. You want it kind of thick.