Everyone who cooks for long enough, whether they are a home cook or a professional chef, has developed a signature dish. For my mother that dish is the most divine chicken parmesan, and for the elite chefs of Le Cirque in Manhattan it is potato wrapped sea bass. The signature dish is a universal truth of the culinary world. And now the time has come for me to share my signature dish with you.
This dish represents everything that The Fancy Redneck is all about. Here we have a fried pork chop with mashed potatoes and a sherry mushroom gravy. Any form of fried meat, potatoes, and gravy is about as southern as a meal can get. I decided to take that traditional form of Sunday supper and give it a massive flavor boost using rustic French and Italian flavors. The traditional southern pork chop and this gravy that is filled with fresh thyme, balsamic vinegar, sherry, and garlic pair so beautifully together and the potatoes are like the glue that holds the whole meal together.
The pork chop is so savory and luscious and the gravy has a sweetness and herbiness to it, but at the same time the balsamic vinegar helps to cut some of the fattiness. Then on top of that flavor bomb you have the creamy, saltiness of mashed potatoes. You really can’t go wrong with this combination of flavors. Plus I love cooking this dish because like my spicy chicken alfredo it’s one of those dishes that has multiple components, but the cooking times on everything kind of just works out in this harmonious way. This dish is so much easier to cook than it appears and it makes for a great family meal, date night dinner, or any special occasion. I also find it worth noting that my best friend who has no love for pork chops or mashed potatoes (crazy, I know) called this dish the best meal he ever ate.
- 3-6 bone in, center cut pork chops, the thicker the better
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon old bay seasoning
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons your favorite hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 cubed yukon gold potatoes
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 1 cup of heavy cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup mascarpone
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
Sherry Mushroom Gravy*
- 12 ounces sliced cremini/baby bella mushrooms
- 12 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 5-7 sprigs of fresh thyme tied in a bundle
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup (approx) whole milk
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- salt, pepper, and sugar all to taste
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees followed by cubing your potatoes and getting them and your whole garlic cloves in a large pot of salted water to boil. Once your potatoes are nearing the boiling point combine the half cup flour, garlic powder, and old bay in one bowl and the buttermilk and hot sauce in another. Heat the butter and oil allotted to the pork chops over medium high heat. When the butter is fully melted salt and pepper both sides of the pork and then dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture, dunk both sides in the buttermilk mixture, then dredge once again in the flour mixture. Add them immediately to the pan. Do not try to do this as a prep ahead step. It will make the crust on your pork come out not so crusty. Just put the meat directly into the pan from the flour and you’ll be ok.
I like getting my pork chops extra brown so I give them 4-6 minutes per side. Once your pork is beautifully browned on all sides toss them in the oven for about 5-10 minutes depending on how thick your chops are. After that period turn the oven off but leave your pork in the oven to keep them warm.
After that throw your mushrooms in the pan you cooked your pork in and salt and pepper the mushrooms. Cook them until they start to brown and shrink up, about five minutes. Around this time your potatoes should be finished boiling. If they are fork tender then drain them, mash them, and add all the dairy ingredients to the mashed up potatoes and make sure they are well incorporated while your mushrooms cook. After that just leave them alone.
Now to focus 100% on the gravy. To your cooked down mushrooms add the minced garlic and one to two tablespoons of grapeseed oil depending on how dry your pan is. After one to two minutes of letting the garlic brown sprinkle the flour for the gravy over the mushrooms, stir it in well, and give it about three minutes to cook. After this add the sherry and give it a minute to let the alcohol cook out. Immediately add the thyme, bay leaves, and balsamic vinegar and give that a minute to meld together. Turn the heat down to low and add the chicken stock and whole milk. Give the gravy about three minutes to thicken, stirring constantly. If your gravy over thickens then add more chicken stock. Finish it up by removing the thyme and bay leaves and adding salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Finish off the gravy by adding one tablespoon of butter. Salt and pepper your potatoes to taste as well.
*A note on mashed potatoes on gravy:
For this recipe I wrote down the amounts of each ingredient I used the last time I made this recipe. However both mashed potatoes and gravy can be a bit of a balancing act. Every time I cook mashed potatoes or gravy there are slight difference. Every experience of cooking potatoes and gravy come out differently. Potatoes can be different sizes, the liquids in the gravy can reduce faster or slower different times you cook it, basically there are lots of independent variables. The ingredient quantities I gave are pretty solid over all, but the true key to having your potatoes and gravy come out delicious is to keep a close eye on them and make sure to taste every step of the way. This recipe is a good skeleton for getting good potatoes and gravy, but your taste buds will tell you what to add better than any post I write could. Good luck and happy cooking and eating!