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Good morning folks!
Hope you’re enjoying DFO’s outstanding coverage of the World Cup.
In fact if you were wondering what happened to Sunday Gravy last week,
You were wondering weren’t you?
I let the opening weekend World Cup coverage just do it’s damn thing rather than contending with that goddamn beast. Well, that plus work has been kicking the everloving shit out of me the last few weeks so I needed whatever fucking break I could get.
I did cook, though.
Hell yes I did.
Since the work nightmare has been slowly tamed, I decided that I needed to get back to my damn roots and bring some real fuckin’ gravy out of the Sunday Gravy test kitchen. Today we’re going Southern as FUCK!
From the top left that’s a homemade buttermilk biscuit, rice and gravy, a smothered pork chop and some sweet corn.
You’re damn skippy.
I’ve certainly discussed my Southern particulars many times in the past and I know for a goddamn fact I’ve covered more than my fair share of pork chop recipes.
Just a quick refresher on the Southern thing for our newer readers. My dad’s family is from Texas and his mother grew up in Louisiana which begat Southern and Creole techniques. My mom’s family originated in Oklahoma, around the “nations” or reservations area, which led to additional Southern influence. My grandparents would dredge, fry and smother pretty much every fucking meal.
The big surprise is that none of them died from heart attacks and all of them lived pretty goddamn long. It was my parent’s generation where the health impacts of such over the fucking top food preparation began to take it’s toll.
Well that and Philip Morris.
Now? Shit, I’m really goddamn spartan for my week day diet. It’s baked chicken, tons of fruit, whole grains, smoothies etc. I’m a goddamn marvel of dietary discipline.
I swear to God!
Which, once again, allows me to bring you this insanely delicious, yet borderline insane to consume, Southern staple and honest to fucking Jesus soul food meal.
The tradition of “smothering” did not originate here:
Shit, my family’s been smothering shit for generations. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if they smothered a couple of “less than perfect” infants come to think of it. My family is fucking savage that way.
Man, you can smother pork chops, chicken, potatoes, steak. Holy Jesus can I smother some steak. I like a tenderized round steak for that application but if you increase the time cooking in the oven, I’ve even smothered some New York steaks. God. DAMN that’s good eatin’.
Now put down that pillow! You’re not allowed to smother your significant other or your children! It’s a food technique you bastards not a homicide technique!
Let’s go ahead and take us a Sunday Gravy road trip to the Dirty Souf and get to some serious soul food today.
Smothered Pork Chops!
Pork chops – gauge accordingly. I cook two per person.
1/4 teaspoon of salt.
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.
1 cup of flour.
2 tablespoons onion powder.
1 tablespoon of garlic powder.
1 tablespoon of paprika – smoked paprika is nice here.
1 teaspoon of cayenne.
1/4 cup of peanut oil – pretty critical for both the flavor and the smoke point.
1 small/medium onion chopped fine.
3 cloves of garlic minced.
2 cups of chicken stock.
3/4 cups of buttermilk – buy a quart and save some for the upcoming biscuit recipe.
3-4 teaspoons of a good Louisiana hot sauce. Here’s my jam.
I find Tabasco a little too vinegary for my tastes. This also goes fantastic in soups. Add some to your lima beans and ham and you will be a happy motherfucker indeed.
Let’s get started!
First get yourself a nice quality center cut pork chop or two. Given the choice, I always go bone-in.
The bone always lends itself to more flavor. I’m also very cool with boneless – you wouldn’t have to eat around the bone – and you would simply need to increase the finishing time in the oven for thicker boneless chops.
Rinse and pat the chops dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with a little salt and pepper.
Next let’s set up a station for the seasoned flour. Combine the flour, onion and garlic powders, the cayenne and the paprika
and mix together well.
Today, class, we are using our cast iron skillet.
That’s right. We will be building a gravy in the skillet so that should clue you to the base of the gravy recipe.
A non-reactive gravy is correct.
Put the peanut oil into the skillet as it heats up over a medium-medium/high heat.
Next, take the chops that are seasoned with the salt and pepper and get them into that seasoned flour.
You can call this a dredge but all we will be doing today is giving the pork chops a good covering of the seasoned flour. If you were building a thicker crust you could dredge in the flour then into an egg wash then back into the flour for a proper dredge. We don’t need that much breading today so just go with a single coating of the flour.
Be sure to save the extra seasoned flour to help us make a gravy.
Once your cast iron is “het up” and ready to party, get that pork up in the pan!
These are going to cook for 5-6 minutes per side. We are looking for a nice golden color but also remember that we are finishing these fuckers in the oven. After the 5-6 minutes have elapsed give ’em a flip.
Yeah, that’s sexy.
Allow me a minor digression here. I originally wanted to use this unbelievably fucking cool casserole dish that I’ve owned for about goddamn ever.
BUT! I made too many pork chops to fit in here. I ended up using my always tried and true Dutch oven to finish the proceedings. I just think this is a cool fucking casserole dish.
Once you’ve browned all of your pork chops it’s time to build a nice smothering gravy.
First thing we are going to do is toss our diced onion up in the cast iron with all of that lovely crispy, porky tastiness still in it.
Saute the onions for about 5 minutes and cook until translucent. Use a spoon and scrape up all of the leftover pork bits along with the onion. When the onion has cooked, quickly add in the minced garlic just until aromatic, then add in 3 tablespoons of the leftover seasoned flour. Give a few good stirs and get everything combined.
Next add in the two cups of the chicken stock and stir occasionally until the gravy starts to combine and thicken. This will take a few minutes and will be done when the gravy coats the back of your stirring spoon.
Once the gravy has tightened, add in the buttermilk. This is where the gravy takes on a nice richness and tang from the buttermilk.
Season with a little salt and pepper and add in the hot sauce.
If you were cooking just a couple of chops you could add them back to the skillet, and let them finish cooking right here in the cast iron for about 20 minutes and you would have a tasty-ass single dish prepped meal. I was cooking for several hungry neanderthals today so I just added everything into my Dutch oven with a lid to cover and finished in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
If you wanted to try the smothered steak idea, follow all of the above steps but finish in the 350 degree oven for about an hour to get the steak just silly fucking tender. Serve the meat over your choice of starch and cover everything with a ladle or two of the gravy.
Notice that I used rice as my starch today. Reason number one is that rice and gravy is FUCKING AWESOME! and reason two is I forgot the potatoes at the store.
Prepare rice as normal: remember 2 cups liquid to 1 cup rice, bring liquid to boil, reduce heat to low, add rice, stir and leave undisturbed in a covered pot over LOW heat for 20 minutes.
Rice and gravy really is the shit though and it is undeniably Southern as FUCK. My grandmother from Louisiana preferred rice and gravy to potatoes and gravy.
If you wanted to call it a day right here and serve the pork chops over the rice with some veggies of choice you could but don’t you want to be a true Southerner today?
Wouldn’t this meal be made even more badass with some homemade buttermilk biscuits?
Fuck yes it would.
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 TABLESPOON of baking powder – yep.
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. That box of shit that’s been in your refrigerator may be past it’s expiration. You want current and active baking powder and baking soda for these biscuits to rise properly.
2 teaspoons of sugar.
1 teaspoon of salt.
6 tablespoons of COLD butter cut into cubes.
3/4 cup of cold buttermilk.
Keeping the dairy cold really makes a big difference to the final product. Go ahead and cube up the butter before you do anything else then put the butter back into the refrigerator.
Another trick to keeping the dairy cold is to use one of these things.
Using a food processor to mix the dough rather than using your 98.6 degree mitts will indeed help the butter keep cool.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar into a medium bowl and stir to mix. Dump these contents into a food processor then add in your cubed chilled butter.
Give the processor a couple of pulses to combine. Take the mixed contents and place on a lightly floured surface then add in the buttermilk.
The key to a nice fluffy biscuit is to not overwork the dough. You’re not making a fucking pizza here so don’t be slinging shit around. Gently mix the buttermilk into a dough until a slightly sticky dough forms. Using your hands – no rolling pin needed – form the dough into a rectangle and fold the sides in towards the middle. Do this about 3-4 times. Roll into rectangle, fold in sides and smooth out. This will build flaky layers.
Get a round cutter or use a glass with a floured rim and cut out your biscuits.
The recipe said this makes 12 biscuits.
It did not.
It made 6 good size biscuits.
Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and set them next to each other. This will allow the biscuits to “climb” against each other as they cook thereby producing a taller biscuit.
Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter or buttermilk if desired and sock these into a 450 degree oven – yep that oven will be cranking the BTUs – and cook until golden brown.
There it is!
You can now use these for every type of biscuit application there is!
I wanted biscuits to fuck around with that sexy gravy that goes along with the pork chops.
/drops wooden spoon.
//walks out the motherfucking kitchen.
Boom! Soul food personified.
Become an honorary southerner. Just for one day.
Thanks for reading folks.