Potatoes Au Gratin with Pork Chops
One of the meals I had as a kid! We called the potatoes scalloped incorrectly and often used Velveeta Cheese … Yikes! Not always successfully. I have changed a few things here including the cheese. But I haven’t increased the ingredient list … one of the great positives of this recipe. The prep is easy and quick. The potatoes need about 50-60 minutes baking time for the best flavor and texture.
The New York cut pork chops can be pan seared until done or quickly browned and baked for the last 5 minutes on top the potatoes. The baking can lead to dryness if not careful. A no fuss applesauce can be cooked up in 10-15 minutes from two Granny Smith apples and a few tablespoons of water. The perfect meal with few ingredients. Dress it up with spices if you like but I just like the simplicity.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Serves 3-4 Adults
3 Large Russet potatoes-peeled and sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1 3/4 Cup whole milk
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
6 Ounces of best grated sharp cheddar cheese (and a little for sprinkling)
4 New York cut boneless pork chops-1/4 to 1/2 inch thick and about the size of your palm or individual appetite
Cooking oil with high heat potential
Salt and Pepper to taste
Use a buttered 9 inch square baking dish for potatoes. Layering potatoes too thin (dish too large) can create dryness.
In a medium skillet over medium temperature melt the butter and add the flour. Whisk or stir until bubbling.
Add the milk and continue stirring. You may need to lower temperature to avoid scorching the contents. The milk will begin to thicken. Add the salt and pepper, then the cheese-saving a little to sprinkle on top. Whisk until well blended. Remove from heat.
Layer the potatoes into the baking dish. After the first 2 layers add a little of the cooked sauce. Then continue with the layering. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 50-60 minutes.
At the end of the baking begin the meat searing. The searing process will take only about 8 minutes to totally cook through. Much beyond this and the meat will be dry. Check internal temperature if in question, 145 degrees F. Be sure and let the meat rest for about 3 minutes before cutting.
How to pan sear:
Use a heavy bottom skillet. Heat medium high and use a little cooking oil that tolerates heat well. (Doesn’t smoke at high temperatures.) Let the skillet get hot. Have the meat removed from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior. Put only two pork chops in the skillet at once to avoid dropping the temperature of the skillet. Flip if needed to avoid burning. Add the additional chops. Sprinkle salt and pepper as you go. Total cooking is about 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Check temperature if needed.
For those who wish to try the oven method: Sear the outside of the pork chops quickly, no more than 3 minutes total searing per chop. Layer the chops on top the potatoes in the last 5 minutes of the potatoes cooking. Bake with potatoes that 5 minutes.
Remove all from the oven. Rest for about 5-7 minutes before serving.
Applesauce is really easy to make:
2 Granny Smith apples-peeled, core removed, and apples cut in quarters and quarters again (just helps cook faster)
4 Tablespoons water
Heat over medium heat until bubbles well then turn down to a simmer. Cooks in 10-15 minutes.