Friday, July 5, 2013

Ketchup & Mustard Pork Chops: A Personal Childhood Favorite

Growing up, thankfully, my mom cooked me dinner nearly every night.  A recipe that was regularly in our dinner rotation was a baked pork chop dish where pork chops were covered in ketchup, mustard and brown sugar over a bed of baked beans.  The resulting dish was tart  and tangy yet sweet at the same time.   It still sounds yummy to me but not paleo by a long shot.  After finding a paleo ketchup recipe that I thought achieved the Heinz ketchup flavor I grew up with and now prefer, I was reminded of this recipe, so I went about developing this The Paleo Review original recipe:  Ketchup & Mustard Pork Chops.  

Just like Mom made, kinda.
I want to acknowledge up front, that caramelizing onions takes a bit of time, attention and patience.  The sweetness for the dish comes from the onions.  Yow will be reward in the end, believe me.  


3 Large Yellow Onions
3 teaspoons coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter (paleo fat of choice)
2-3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 Bone In Pork Chops (about 1 inch thick)
3-4 Tablespoons Yellow Mustard
3-4 Tablespoons Paleo Ketchup

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Start by prepping the onions as they might require more cooking time than the pork depending on how quickly your onions caramelize.  When I have made caramelized onions this way, its taken me anywhere from an hour to nearly an hour and a half.  Certainly, if you have your own method for caramelizing onions, use it but here is how I did it.  

Start by trim the ends off of the onions, slice them in half and remove the skins. Slice the onions thinly into half moons, try to stay about ⅛ to ¼ inch thick slices.  If your slices are thicker, no big deal, but the texture is better if the slices are thinner.

Heat the largest flat bottomed skillet/saute pan you have over medium high heat.  I used a 12 inch deep saute pan. Add 3 teaspoons of your chosen paleo fat to the pan and let it heat.

Add the sliced onions to the pan and stir to coat them in the cooking fat.
A full pan of onions.
Let the onions cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally,  and then sprinkle the salt over them.  You may need to adjust your burner down to medium.  

Once you have the onions going and a timer set for the first 10 minutes, prep your pork chops to bake.  Rinse and dry your pork chops and place them in a glass or corning ware baking dish.  I used my 1.5 quart oval corning ware dish.    

Coat the pork chops with mustard.  Use just enough to make sure there is a nice coating of mustard all over.

Coat the pork chops with ketchup over the mustard layer being careful not to disrupt the mustard layer.  Again, just use enough to make sure there is a nice coating of ketchup all over.  

Next, cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it in your pre-heated 350 degree oven. Set a timer for 45 minutes.  Yes a second timer. My microwave oven has a timer and so does my oven, so I use those two. I also use the timer on my phone from time to time.

When your 10 minute timer for the onions goes off and you've added the salt, let the onions continue cooking, stirring every 5-7 minutes until the onions reach the level of brownness/caramelization you desire.  You may need to turn down the burner around the 30 minute mark.  If the pan appears to be drying out too much, add a little water.  This requires patience, but it will be rewarded!

When the pork 45 minute timer goes off, remove the foil, and bake for 15 more minutes.

Remove the pork chops from oven and wait for your onions to finish if they have not already.  

After 1 hour 23 minutes of cooking time, my onions were done.   Depending on how your onions progress, you may need more or less time.  I've had a batch take as little as 1 hour to finish.  

Yes, that is the full 3 onions cooked down.   If you'd like to make more onions, you'll need to add 1 teaspoon of fat per onion and probably increase the salt added just a tad.  
Sweet and full of flavor!

Once the onions are done, plate them with a pork chop.  Here are a few glamour shots of the finished dish.

But, this is how you should enjoy this dish.  Cut up the pork chop, take out the bone, and mix it up well with the onions so you'll get some tangy sweetness in each bite.

Super yummy!

Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  You should be able to find everything you need at your "big box" grocery store.  You'll need to make a batch of paleo ketchup before hand, but it's super easy to whip up.  

Preparation & Cooking Time:

10 minutes:  Onion Preparation
10 minutes:  Pork Chop Preparation (Included in onion cooking time.)
1 hour: Pork Chop Cooking time (45 foil covered, 15 uncovered)
1 hour 23 minutes:  Onion Cooking time.  This time might vary for you depending on how quickly your onions caramelize and your preference for level of caramelization.  (*It could take  more or less time depending on your stove and onions.)

Total Preparation Time:  10 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 33 minutes*
Clean up:  I hand washed my saute pan and pre-scrubbed my corning ware dish before putting it into the dishwasher.  It didn't require much elbow grease at all.

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  While this recipe is very different from my mom's recipe, it has all of the flavor of the dish I remember from my childhood and is now quite healthy for me.  The pork chops are tender.  Each bite of onion and pork chop has an awesome tangy sweetness.  It's a pretty filling dish.  It does take a bit of time and attention but well worth it, to me.  

Did anyone else grow up with this dish?  Either way, give this recipe a try.