Ready in an hour, this simple Smothered Baked Pork Chops recipe can turn an inexpensive package of chops into a satisfying meal. Use bone-in or boneless – they’ll be tender and flavorful every time. And with a cast-iron skillet, this is a one-pan meal!
Why Smothered Baked Pork Chops?
These Smothered Baked Pork Chops are easy and quick, so they’re perfect when you’re in a rush and need something to feed everyone fast. You can use bone-in or boneless chops. And unlike simply fried pork chops, this process will transform even the cheapest cuts into a tender, flavorful treat.
But why waste 30 minutes brining when you could just get on with it?
Yeah, yeah – you could skip the brining, but you’ll be missing out on the most important step. The brining accomplishes two things: increasing moisture and loosening the protein fibers. This produces a jucier, more tender end product. And with pork chops, that’s vital.
I like a little kick of allspice in my brine, but feel free to experiment! You can use almost anything that sounds good. Hot peppers? Sure. That exotic spice you bought and can’t figure out how to use it? Give it a try! The brining will draw this flavor into the meat.
The Rest is Simple
As I mentioned, I use a cast-iron skillet for this recipe, and it’s the perfect choice. Nothing gives as good a sear, or produces a more flavorful fond than a hot cast-iron skillet. Those browned bits pack a lot of flavor and are the foundation for many sauces.
But cast-iron is such a chore to clean!
Not if it’s seasoned correctly! I use mine all the time, and it’s easier to clean than any baking dish – even with all the cooking spray! Check out the video below for tips on seasoning your cast iron.
Looking for a Great Cast Iron Skillet?
A good-quality cast iron skillet is a must-have for any kitchen. A well-seasoned skillet will sear meat like nothing else, and will clean up easily after use.
How to Season Your Cast Iron
If you’re afraid to use your skillet because it’s always hard to clean, it’s not seasoned correctly (or you have a cheap skillet with a pitted surface that won’t season no matter what you do.) It’s important to season your skillet when you first buy it, and to keep it seasoned as you use it – but the processes are different.
I have a well-seasoned skillet. But after every use, I wash it up in soap and water (yes, it’s just fine), dry it off with a towel, then set it on the stovetop on high heat until it’s well-dried. Once it’s dry, I remove it from the heat and let it cool just a bit. I add about a quarter’s size of olive oil to the warm pan and rub it all over the surface with a paper towel. I wipe off all the excess with another towel, and that’s it.
To season your new skillet, here’s a great video that will show you just how I do it for the first time. It may be a bit long, but Kent Rollins knows what he’s talking about, and he’s worth paying attention to:
Smothered Baked Pork Chops
- 3 Cups Water
- 3 tbsp Salt
- 2 cloves Allspice
- 2 1/2 lbs Pork Chops bone-in or boneless
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil or rapeseed oil
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom Amy's Organic
- 1/2 cup Half and Half
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme or 1 sprig fresh
- 2 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 8 oz Mushrooms or 1 small jar
- Whisk salt into water and cover chops. Add the allspice and refrigerate, covered for 30 minutes.
- Combine the soup, half and half, garlic, dried thyme and pepper until blended. Add jarred mushrooms if that's what you're using.
- If using fresh mushrooms and fresh thyme – saute mushrooms in oil in the cast iron skillet, tossing in the thyme sprig a few minutes before they're completely soft. Remove the sprig and add the mushrooms to your sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
- Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spices over all sides of the chops.
- Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add the chops and cook on each side for 1 to 2 minutes per side. The meat should pull away from the skillet when seared.
- Pour on the mushroom sauce and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 18 minutes for bone-in, or 15 minutes for boneless. The sauce should be hot and bubbly. Remove from oven and let rest in sauce for 5 minutes.
If you enjoyed the recipe, be sure to check out my other version of pork chops, Best Pan Seared Pork Chops.
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