Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen Special Giveaway

Special Giveaway: We’re giving away Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen gift packages to three lucky winners. One grand prize winner will receive a Peanut Boiler Pot (pictured above) and two runners-up will receive a copy of Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, a tote bag, and three bags of Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal. To enter, just comment below and tell us what your favorite Southern dish is. Winners will be chosen on 3/30/13.

Pork Chops and Four Pepper Collards

I paged through the pages of Matt and Ted Lee’s cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, and immediately was transported into this culinary paradise of the South. The cookbook explores the amazing stories and rich history of Charleston food, and shares recipes for some of the city’s more iconic dishes. The recipe smothered pork chops caught my eye right away, as I am constantly looking for ways to re-invent the pork chop. (How many times can I make pork chops with some form of apple?)

These smothered pork chops were incredibly easy to make, and they totally wowed my dinner guests. I created a flour/cornmeal mixture and an egg wash, and dipped each chop in the wash first, then the cornmeal mixture. I then heated the vegetable oil in my cast-iron skillet and fried each chop for about 2-3 minutes per side, and transferred the dish to the oven.

Floured Pork Chops

Frying Pork Chops

Next, I made the gravy, which was unbelievably good. I caramelized the onions in the fat from the chops, then added the flour, the half and half and the broth. A few minutes later, the gravy was ready to serve along the crispy, hot pork chops. I served my pork chops with a side of collard greens, but really, any sort of vegetable will do.

Recipe for Smothered Pork Chops
Excerpted from The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen
Serves 4
Time: 30 minutes

Pork chops
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup coarse, medium, or fine stone-ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½ cup whole milk
1 large egg yolk
1 ½ cups peanut or canola oil, or lard
4 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (about 2 ¼ pounds)

1 ½ cups diced yellow onion (about 1 large)
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
11⁄3 cups chicken broth
2⁄3 cup whole milk or half-and-half

1. Cook the pork chops: Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and black pepper in a broad, shallow bowl until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a large plate, spreading the mixture in a flat, even layer. Wipe the bowl clean with a paper towel, and pour the milk into it. Add the egg yolk and whisk until thoroughly combined.

2. Preheat the oven to 250°F, and place a heatproof platter lined with a double thickness of paper towels inside.

3. Pour the oil into a 10-inch skillet to a depth of about ½ inch, and put over high heat. When the oil reaches 375°F on a frying thermometer, turn the heat down to medium high. Submerge 2 of the pork chops in the bowl of egg wash until they’re completely coated, letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Press each chop firmly into the flour mixture on the plate, then flip it to coat the other side. Roll each chop around in the dredge so that the sides get an even coating of flour, too, then slide it gently into the hot oil. When both chops of the batch are in the oil, cover the pan, and fry until the bottom side of the chops is alluringly browned, about 2 minutes. Then flip them and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, uncovered, until the second side is browned. Using sturdy tongs, carefully transfer the chops to the plate in the oven. Repeat with the remaining 2 chops.

4. Make the gravy: Once all the chops are in the oven, pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil, and add the onion to the pan. Cook, stirring, until fragrant and translucent, but not browned, about 4 minutes. Scatter the flour in the pan and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes, until the flour is distributed evenly throughout the onion and is toasty. Add the broth and milk, and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the gravy is thickened, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

5. Remove the chops from the oven and arrange them on a long platter. Smother them with the gravy and bring to the table.