Autumn always seems to take me by surprise. One day it’s summer and the next, well, often the next it feels more like winter than fall. The days become shorter, darker and colder all too quickly.
And as the seasons shift, so too do my moods and cravings. On more dreary days, I seek comfort under the covers, from a good book or in a dish from my childhood. Many of those include sweeter confections, as my mother and I often baked together. But a few savory dishes, just a few, remind me of our bond in the kitchen, chasing away my doldrums and the chill while warming my belly and my soul.
That’s where these pork chops with bacon-mushroom pan gravy come in.
I’ll be straight, it’s the indulgently creamy, fattiness of the gravy that gets me every time — just my type of comfort food. The herbs and mushrooms add an earthy touch that elevates it to another dimension.
And if, like my friends, you don’t particularly care for mushrooms, just leave them out. The herbs will do the job. Just make sure you choose a meatier bacon and drain most of the fat so the dish isn’t overwhelmed with grease.
PORK CHOPS WITH BACON-MUSHROOM PAN GRAVY
Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 45 minutes. Serves: 3-4 people.
6 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-1/2 inches pieces
2 cup (2 medium) onions. chopped
4 3/4 inch thick center cut pork chops
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups half and half
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Heat oven to 200 degrees or turn it on a warm setting.
In 10 inch skillet, sauté bacon over medium-high heat until it begins to crisp. Drain out most of the fat then add in onions and garlic, stirring occasionally until they soften and brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Season pork chops with a pinch of salt and pepper on each side. Move the bacon-onion mixture to the side, placing the pork chops in the center of the pan then covering them with the bacon and onions. Cover the pan while the pork browns, about 10 minutes. Flip the pork chops and cover the top with the bacon and onions again. Reduce the heat to medium, sautéing until the pork is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove the pork chops from the pan, transfer to an ovensafe dish and place in the oven to keep warm.
Drain excess grease, leaving about a tablespoon for a roux. In the same skillet, add in the flour, thyme, salt and pepper to the bacon and onions, stirring until the mixture is completely coated with no lumps and starts to bubble. Pour in the half and half and mushrooms and stir until thoroughly combined. Simmer until the gravy thickens.
Spoon gravy over pork chops and mashed potatoes.