One of my favorite memories of dinner at my Grandparents involved pork chops fried in a cast iron skillet with the darkest, richest onion gravy and mashed potatoes. I’m sure the pork chops were organic and locally raised before that even became a thing. My grandfather was a real meat and potatoes guy and this was one of his favorite meals as well. I don’t think the carrots would have made his plate. I remember my grandpa (and my uncle when he visited) eating the fat from all our chops. The fat was fried crispy and I’m sure it was very tasty but the rest of us trimmed it off and passed it down.
Tonight I used pork steaks rather than chops and I marinated them which my grandma would not have done. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to replicate her chops and gravy but to me our dinner had a little taste of nostalgia.
4 bone-in pork chops or pork steaks
1 cup strong, black coffee
1/4 cup molasses
2 T cider vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
2-3 garlic cloves sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 T canola oil
2 T butter
1 large onion rough chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth (my grandmother would have used the water from boiling the potatoes)
Combine coffee, molasses, vinegar, and Dijon in a bowl and whisk together.
Slice the garlic cloves and add to the marinade.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the marinade. Season the chops or steaks with salt and pepper, put them in a gallon zip lock bag along with the rest of the marinade and seal. Allow the meat to marinate for 1-2 hours occasionally turning the bag.
Once the meat has marinaded, heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat and sear the meat on both sides.
Once the meat has been seared on both sides remove it to a platter and add the onion to the drippings in the skillet. Cook the onions over medium heat until they are tender and beginning to brown.
Add the butter and the flour to the onions and continue stirring. Slowly add the broth and the 1/2 cup of marinade continuing to stir until it thickens and you have a nice dark rich gravy.
Put the chops back in the gravy, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Serve with smashed potatoes and a vegetable side and enjoy this simple, old fashioned dinner.
NOTE: I cooked my potatoes with the skins on and added a couple whole cloves of garlic to the cooking water. I smashed the potatoes and garlic along with a tablespoon of horseradish for a little extra zip.
Even though, to my knowledge, my grandmother did not marinade meat she would have approved of my use of strong black coffee. Coffee was almost always the beverage of choice at their house.