After an especially long and hot Ohio summer, I was thrilled to wake up a few weeks ago to a perfect fall day. Finally, the air was crisp, the high temperature was predicted to be a desirable 65 degrees, and it was sunny.
As a cook, I could not resist the temptation to telephone a group of friends and ask them to come for an impromptu fall dinner that night.
Of all the fall dishes prepared for that party, the pork chops were my favorite. They are seasoned with salt and pepper, coated in flour and browned in oil. The chops are then placed in a baking dish and topped with caramelized onions and stock.
Pork chops baked with caramelized onions Makes 8 servings.
8 center-cut pork chops, cut 3/4 -inch thick and weighing 6 to 8 ounces each
salt, freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup flour
1/2 cup oil, plus more if needed
4 cups sliced onions
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 cups beef stock, plus more if needed
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda (shredded with rind)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Trim any excess fat from pork chops. Salt and pepper chops generously and dredge in flour.
Pour 3 tablespoons oil in large heavy skillet and set over medium-high heat. Add half the pork chops or as many as will fit comfortably in single layer and brown well, about 4 minutes per side. Place browned chops in large oven-to-table baking dish. Repeat with remaining chops, using 3 tablespoons oil, more or less as needed.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet or enough to coat bottom with thin layer and heat until hot. Add onions and cook slowly, stirring, over medium heat until onions start to brown. Sprinkle with sugar and continue to cook, stirring, until onions are well-browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Arrange onions on top of chops and add stock. Chops should be just covered with liquid. If necessary, add additional stock.
Cover dish with lid or with foil. Bake on center shelf at 350 degrees 45 to 60 minutes or until tender when pierced with knife. Remove lid and sprinkle shredded cheese over chops. Bake about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and slightly crusty. Sprinkle chops with parsley before serving.