As you may have surmised, from all the semi-recent pig photos, we love pigs and like to raise our own pork. Since we butcher the pigs ourselves we get the WHOLE hog. There’s a lot of meat there, especially in the form of hams. My preferred way to deal with all that ham is to cut some of the ham up into ham steaks.
So, what to do with all those ham steaks? We like them best prepared like smothered pork chops (except I often substitute ham steaks for the pork chops, those we like best breaded with parmesan and sage).
Smothered pork is simple to make. Basically, cover your pork with sliced onions, add a touch of herbs and surround with broth to add moisture and flavor while baking. It sounds too simple to be true but the resulting meal is tender, flavorful and there’s gravy!
The Recipe In Detail
- 4 pork chops or equivalent in ham steaks
- 4 slices bacon, optional but recommended
- 2 medium onions
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups broth
- salt and pepper
Using a stove top/oven proof pan, large enough to hold the ham slices (or pork chops) in one layer, brown the pork slices. Feel free to cook a couple of slices of bacon first, reserving bacon to crumble and serve on top of the finished dish and use the rendered fat to brown the pork on both sides.
Add enough sliced onions to cover the pork and saute till they start to brown (remove pork from the pan if there’s not enough room, when you return them to the pan place the onions on top of the pork).
Add a sprinkle of thyme, perhaps a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Add enough broth to cover the pork and onions (we’ll cook this down later to make a delicious gravy). Cover and bake till fork tender, add liquid if the broth dries up during this time. This is the most important step. If you don’t cook the pork long enough to be fork tender, and it can take a while, then you won’t get tender, delicious, eat it with just a fork results.
Now, uncover and allow the broth to condense. The onions and meat will develop a deep golden color. Make sure you will have enough liquids to make a gravy, add broth if needed.
Make the gravy. Transfer broth/pan juices to a stove top saucepan and thicken to make a gravy. I use arrowroot powder but cornstarch or flour is commonly used.
Serve with gravy and crumbled bacon on top. I often serve with mashed potatoes (with some of that gravy on top) and veggies. Since the oven is on anyways, I like to braise pot of collar greens in chicken broth for my vegetable. Peas are common too.
Adding apples in along with the onions is also super delicious. Here’s a photo of that: