You know a recipe is good when your children dub it “your porkchops” or “your roast beef”, stuff like that. So good that it somehow weaves its way into the fabric of your familial traditions. So beloved, in fact, that the lead up to any visit home includes anticipatory phone calls listing all the meals said children want to eat and you know what they are before they’re even spoken.
These pork chops fall into that category. Humble pork chops. But, I rarely remember a fancy meal either. What I do remember is my Slovak Bapka’s chicken soup with tiny little dumplings, her poppyseed kolach, and her perogies. Actually, I think I remember every single thing that amazing woman ever made.
But I also remember my French Canadian grandmother’s heavily peppered soups that warmed me to my toes. Her glorious cinnamon buns, now gone forever. I remember my mother’s cheesy broccoli casserole, my father’s oven baked apples swimming in butter and cinnamon.
People say, “food isn’t love” and I think that’s entirely wrong. I get where the sentiment is coming from given our distortion around food, but food is indeed love. Even a simple fried egg, raised well, prepared with conscious care is a vehicle of deep affection.
All really good food comes wrapped in love.
That’s why homemade food always tastes the best. It’s why my food will never taste like my Bapka’s. That was her food. This is mine. Yours is yours.
You can scroll over to see how I make these pork chops. I first had them years ago when my beloved friend, the Grand Matriarch of Redtail Farm @redtail_farms, made them for me. I wrote down what we did when we made them so I wouldn’t forget. I need not have. I have no idea how close this is to the original, but they are perfection. So tender they fall off the bone, but all the crispy fattiness a good piece of pork should deliver.
By the way, if you have tried the best quality pork on offer, from heritage breed, organic and pasture raised pigs, and you still have trouble digesting it, I hear you. You need to read the articles on the Weston A Price Journal on the proper preparation of pork and how that drastically changes how it’s assimilated in your hot bod (hint: marinate).
So tender they fall off the bone, but all the crispy fattiness a good piece of pork should deliver
Marinate pork chips (see here for proper pork preparation: https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/food-features/pork/)
Smash a few heads of garlic with the side of your knife (leave the skins on)
Put a few blobs of fat (I used bacon fat and ghee) in the bottom of a cast iron dutch oven and sizzle up your garlic for a minute or two
Add seasoned pork chops (I sprinkled mine with mushroom salt and sumac spice from mushrooms from mushrooms I foraged/dried/mixed with salt and herbs and sumac I foraged and dried). You can use any spice you like, this is about preparation, not me telling you which flavours you like.
Once browned on both sides, remove from the pan
Deglaze by adding a few glugs of bone broth to the pan with a splash of balsamic vinegar (or whatever vinegar you like).
Use a wooden spoon to work up all the browned bits
Add the pork chops back to the pan, cover them with garlic that should be nicely browned and still in skins
Cook, covered at 400f for about 20 minutes, then turn heat down to 325f-350f depending on how long you have. The lower the better. Don't open the oven.
Check them for doneness after 20 minutes or so, and flip them over
If they're done, take off the lid and brown them under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up that delicious fat
Serve with the pan juices poured on top. Serve with a few garlic bulbs that everyone can pop out and smear across their own chop