Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mother Knows Best: Baked Pork Chops


When it comes to food and cooking for the family, my mother gave up her authority a long time ago, and I argue, with it went her mind. She taught me almost everything I know. It was literally a pass on, what she gave me she no longer holds, or so I thought.
She likes to lay on the couch and watch me cook, occasionally interjecting her opinion. Often times I have to respond, "Mother dear, what drugs are you on today?" Because she has the worst memory on HOW she taught me to make almost everything.

"Don't forget the cottage cheese!" she will say.

"Mother dear, we have never put cottage cheese is this in the history of our family." I will say.

"You need to cut the meat cross grain!" I will hear her say from across the room.

"I am mother dear!"

So this week was my Dad's 62 birthday day. I invited the whole clan up to my parents house for a little birthday dinner.

When I asked dad what he wanted for dinner, her requested pork chops and mashed potatoes. Now I like pork chops alright, but when ever I eat a pork chop I think to myself, I wish this was steak. However, this is what he wanted and that is what we would have.
So my mother said, coat the pork chops in graham crackers. To which I refuted, because I said coating them in graham crackers is well and good, but would make some nasty graham cracker gravy. So we argued and argued about it in our normal fashion. Me telling her she was crazy and her saying she couldn't wait till I was old and had a a daughter like me. So she said SHE would make the pork chops and gravy. Mom coming back to the kitchen would be like Muhammad Ali coming out of retirement.
So I bought her some nice thick pork chops from Costco, a box of graham crackers and let her do her thing. I still watched over her shoulder. I chastised her just like she does me. I reprimanded her for being heavy handed on the salt (not even kosher mind you), and I demanded she drizzle some oil over the top before she browned them. When she wasn't looking, I turned down the oven. In my mind I was thinking how I could stubtly let the family understand that the pork chops were NOT by my hand, just in case they were a flop. I've got an image to uphold.
I mixed the flour and water together so Mom could make her gravy. After she was done I gave it a taste. It was great! No nasty graham cracker gravy there, it was very tasty indeed! The pork chops were moist and yummy. My Dad even said we should forget about turkey on Thanksgiving and just go with pork chops. Good on ya' mom! You still gots it!
So this is a public apology to my mother dear. Mom you were absolutely right about everything regarding the pork chop dinner. You are the ultimate cook, and you taught me everything I know. So if you want some great pork chops and gravy, here is the recipe.

Bake Pork Chops with gravy

Ingredient list

Thick cut pork chops
package graham crackers mashed into crumbs
sage (or pork chop seasoning)
salt and pepper
bay leaves

Coat the pork chops in the graham cracker and line in a oiled roasting pan. Season with salt pepper and drizzle with some oil. Brown in the oven at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, add a few pinches of sage and some bay leaves, add a little water, cover and return to the oven to bake for 1-2 hours a 325 degrees, until tender and happy.

Once the pork chops are done, remove from the pan onto a serving dish and tent with foil. Prepared a flour and water mix (approx 1 part flour 2 parts water, mixed well). Add a little extra liquid to the pan (preferably the leftover hot water from potatoes) and get it boiling. Add about a 2 teaspoons of chicken base. Once it is boiling, thicken with the flour mix. Give it a taste, make sure its seasoned properly (you could add more salt, pepper, sage) Finish the gravy off with a tablespoon of butter. Serve with mashed potatoes.


Heidi said...

Who would have thought graham crackers! I've never heard such a thing! They look delicious.

Mum in Bloom said...

Nan, I think we have the same mother! I laugh because my mom proclaimed years ago - I'm done with big dinners! This, mind you, was after we'd all moved out. I gladly stepped in a big family dinner host but had to teach myself as I grew up in a home with a very small kitchen & was constantly told "get out of the kitchen!" or her favourite "beat it!". Now, I live away from my family and miss cooking those big meals for them so much :(

The breaded pork chop meal is a favourite with the men in my husband's family. I spent many a meal cursing those chops while the breading fell off during cooking! Then I discovered the baking method and coating them with honey dijon mustard first - amazingly good! I sometimes use boneless chops, pound them thin first, then broil them. Ok, I should just blog my recipes & stop talking here :op

Dan and Hillary Ross said...

Hey Natalie. Looks good to me. Let's get together soon!

Gramapope said...

As Natalie's mom I defend my right to lay on the couch and watch her cook. 1st, why sit when you can lay? 2nd Now is the age when I get to enjoy the fruits of my own labor. Great job Nat!!!