cornmeal-fried pork chops + smashed potatoes

I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the cooking-obsessed world to get Sean Brock Fever, the chef behind McCrady’s, Husk, and Minero in Charleston. Worse, this is probably a good time to admit that I was sent his first cookbook, Heritage, when it came out and rejected it on sight alone. There was something about those sleeve tattoos cupping the sacred rainbow beans, an image I’ve seen variations on countless other farm-to-table cookbook covers and magazine spreads, that put me off. Skimming the recipes didn’t always help. Your red peas, cornmeal and gold rice should be from Anson Mills, and if not, at least the cornmeal should be fresh from a gristmill. Your tomatoes should be home-canned, or at the very least, San Marzano. Your pork should be from a heritage pig, your buttermilk and goat cheese should come from a local farm, as should your Red Bliss potatoes; this is your heritage after all.

boiled potatoes
just a little splash of light cream

And it’s not that I don’t share the book’s values, either. Like most people, I prefer local humanely raised pork to the feedlot variety. If you haven’t yet, I hope you get a chance to try freshly dug potatoes from a farmers market in a month or two, so you too can be amazed by the depth of flavor atypical of the grocery store variety. I recently bought Anson Mills polenta and grits for the first time, and I’m converted. They’re incredible. They’re fantastically expensive too, as carefully grown food, the best in its class, often is. My grandmother would roll over in her grave if she knew I had used two cups of them just to dredge buttermilk-soaked pork chops (you know, among other concerns there), as the cookbook suggests. I unquestionably believe the world would be a better place if we all had access and the budget for these kinds of ingredients, or if we could all eat Brock’s amazing cooking — James Beard award-winning food that is exclusively indigenous to the South, using heirloom produce and heritage animal breeds — every night. But when it crosses the threshold of my apartment, it’s hard not to be aggressively aware of its gap with the reality I live in, or, as Morrissey once sung to me from a poster on my high school bedroom wall, “it says nothing to me about my life.”

goat cheese smashed potatoes

My central question in my daily home cooking is: will this work for me? In my kitchen? With my budget? With the ingredients I have the patience to get on a 25-degree day on foot? In my knee-high rubber boots and dirty winter coat that feels about one sneeze from popping a zipper, hardly the gauzy stuff of farm cookbook covers? To me, the best recipes transcend their ingredients. They make the humdrum ingredients most of us are compromising with in early March magical, not the other way around. These are the recipe stories I hope this site tells.

pounding out the pork chopsactually, i pounded them on the floorsoaked in buttermilkpounded chops + cornmeal

And I’m here to say that if this dish is indicative of the rest of the book, you’re in for a treat. I spied these pork chops early last week after spending 5-plus months having very little interest in meat or cooked vegetables and yet there I was, pining. Panting. Pawing at the book a little, to be honest. It had to happen in my kitchen, and I’m so glad it did.

fried pork chops
cornmeal fried pork chops + goat cheese smashed potatoes

On The Kitchn: I shared the way I organize (or attempt to) my kitchen cabinets, both pantry items and baking pans. And yes, this means I finally took some photos of my new kitchen; more to come over here, if you’re interested.

One year ago: Kale and Quinoa Salad with Ricotta Salata</a (this would be so good with this meal, yes? or at least as the antidote to it!)
Two years ago:
My Favorite Buttermilk Biscuits
Three years ago: Multigrain Apple Crisps
Four years ago: Whole Wheat Goldfish Crackers
Five years ago: Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs and St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Six years ago: Key Lime Coconut Cake and Steak Sandwiches
Seven years ago: Homemade Devil Dog, Ding-Dong or Hostess Cake and Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
Eight years ago: Two of my favorite Indian recipes: Red Split Lentils With Cabbage and Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Corn Cheddar and Scallion Strata
1.5 Years Ago: Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles and Pink Lemonade Popsicles
2.5 Years Ago: Vanilla Custards with Roasted Blueberries and Baked Orzo with Eggplant and Mozzarella
3.5 Years Ago: Peach Butter

Cornmeal-Fried Pork Chops and Goat Cheese-Smashed Potatoes
From Heritage by Sean Brock, with a few adjustments

There are several things I like about this recipe. As we’ve talked about before, buttermilk is an excellent, simple, tenderizing marinade. The crust, rather than being that irksome three-strep dredging drudgery (flour, egg wash, crumbs), is just cornmeal, which also makes it gluten-free, and full of crunch. By pounding the chops thin, a 3- or 4-ounce portion feels quite generous, which is wonderful if you’re trying to reduce your meat intake. I might never make mashed potatoes again, not after tasting how good rough-crushed potatoes are scattered with cream, butter and cheese, then half mixed, leaving pockets of each throughout rather than a puree where every bite is like the one before. And while this is a good fit for this wintry mix outside — comforting food, served warm — it’s not as heavy as the stews, soups and braises of February. It looks ahead a little, as we’re all eager to.

Note: You are supposed to soak the chops in buttermilk overnight, or at least four hours, so start now!

Serves 6. We halved this recipe, and wished we hadn’t because leftovers would have been awesome about now.

For the pork chops
6 boneless pork chops (about 3 ounces each)
About 3 cups buttermilk, whole milk if you can find it
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups yellow cornmeal
Cayenne pepper
Canola oil (or high heat safflower or sunflower, what I used) for shallow-frying

For the potatoes
3 pounds small-to-medium red potatoes
Kosher salt
1 cup half-and-half (or 1/2 cup milk plus 1/2 cup heavy cream)
6 ounces soft goat cheese
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/2 cup finely sliced fresh chives
Freshly ground black or white pepper

Marinate the pork chops: Pound each pork chop (using a meat pounder or, in a pinch, I’ve also used a cast iron skillet, rather dramatically) between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thick. Place the chops in a container and cover them with the buttermilk. Cover and marinate at least four hours or overnight or in the refrigerator.

Prep the smashed potatoes: Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water and add 1/4 cup salt. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the potatoes until fork-tender, about 20 minutes for small potatoes or 30 minutes for medium ones; try not to let the water boil.

Cook the chops: Heat your oven to 200 degrees. Remove the chops from the buttermilk, discarding it and patting most of the buttermilk off the chops. Season the chops with salt and cracked pepper. Put the cornmeal in a shallow bowl and season it with salt and cayenne pepper. Dredge the chops in the cornmeal, gently shaking off the excess, and put on a large plate.

[Brock wants you to cook these in two large cast-iron skillets, using the oil in each only once, discarding it and putting new oil in for the next chop. I used one 12-inch skillet that fit two chops and reused the oil a couple times, but the downside of this is that it will pick up black bits that fall into the oil as it cooks.]

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add a 1/4-inch of oil to each and heat for 1 minute. Carefully place 2 pork chops in each skillet; do not shake the skillets or touch the chops for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the chops until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully turn the chops over and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes more. I found that my chops really wanted to stick on the second side, so slide a thin spatula underneath them to loosen them from the bottom of the pan before transferring the chops to a baking sheet to keep them warm in the oven. Discard the oil the skillet if it gets too murky and repeat with remaining chops.

Finish the potatoes: When the potatoes are almost cooked, bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Drain the potatoes and place them in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, carefully smash each potato without breaking it apart. Pour the hot half-and-half over the potatoes; crumble the goat cheese, butter and chives over them then fold it together — I only did this once or twice, preferring to keep as many small pockets of goat cheese throughout as possible. Season with salt, if needed, and white or black pepper.

Serve: The potatoes and chops together. Repeat as soon as possible.

Serve with: Brock recommends that you serve these with a cucumber and pickled green tomato relish, which sounds like everything I want to eat right now, but I would have had to have had 3 1/2 pounds heirloom green tomatoes and gotten started on it two weeks ago (1 week for each pickling stage). I’ll be trying it out this summer. In a pinch, I wish I’d made these pickles instead.

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198 comments on cornmeal-fried pork chops + smashed potatoes

  1. Jess B

    This sounds delicious! Will definitely have to try it out. I’m not a big fan of pork chops, but my husband loves them so this sounds like a great compromise — you had me at buttermilk soak! I also wanted to note that much like your Anson Mills experience, we recently bought Rancho Gordo beans to make a cassoulet. I can’t fully get over how expensive they were, but they are also the best beans I’ve ever tasted. I tried a bite and the first thing I said was “I’ve never had beans this amazing”. No doubt the duck fat helped, but the great starting product was key. This is a long way of saying I think buying heirloom carefully grown products is wonderful, and I like doing it when my budget allows. This post really hits the sweet spot on the issue, and I love the recipes you post because they are so accessible. Recipes from both the site and your book are regular go-tos in our dinner rotation in large part because they are both budget and pantry friendly!

  2. TT

    Don’t you just love pregnancy hormones? I’m in my first trimester and all I want is pop tarts, pineapple, and pasta. Can’t wait to enter the world of real food again so we can start eating like humans.

  3. Naj

    I really love your honest take on farm-to-table and how even if you completely agree with it all, and would love to eat like that all the time, and it can all be a bit much. Your site is most definitely filled with recipes that contain ordinary ingredients transformed into extraordinary dishes. That is the very reason I keep coming back here!

  4. Maddie

    Don’t eat pork. If I was going to do the same with chicken breasts or thighs, how long do you think I should soak them in the buttermilk? Still 4 Hours?

  5. I, too, try to eat responsibly, but in the real world it’s not always practical, is it? I’m glad you gave these pork chops a try. They look incredible and are definitely now on my MUST TRY list! :)

  6. This sounds delicious and I bet that cucumber-tomato side would have been a delicious flavor pop. I totally agree with you about hard-to-find ingredients! I feel fortunate to live in a place where fresh pork, beef, eggs, fruits/veggies, etc. are in abundance…but that’s not the reality for most and it can get so costly! Reality and accessibility should intersect with a great recipe. Although I do like the dream. This looks like an amazing recipe and I love the idea of the cornmeal-only coating. Will definitely try. xx

  7. deb

    Maddie — I think this would be excellent with chicken thighs. Marinate the same amount of time or whatever time you have; it’s about giving them a good soak.

  8. You may have convinced me to make pork chops. As a rule I don’t like them but these look really good. I’ve been on a smittenkitchen kick lately so why stop a good streak!

  9. Paula

    Deb, this is why I love you and have for years. Bridging the gap between ideals and reality is a skill that requires much honing and lots of self-awareness. And that pork looks gloriously gluttonous — although I’m relieved not to have to come face to face with that taunting chocolate cake every time I stop by the blog to check for new posts.

  10. Sally

    “more to come over here, if you’re interested”

    YES, I’m interested! There’s no link, so I assume that you’ll post more on the blog?!?

  11. Kathryn

    Hee hee…the Austrian hubby was reading this over my shoulder & got all excited at the thought that if it was on smitten kitchen he might finally get a “schnitzi” from me. Would have to be fried in butter though

  12. I’ve never thought to add goat cheese to potatoes…or potato salad…or any potato meal for some reason. But I sure do love it, and am going to now have to try it out. Sounds like it goes perfectly with the pork chops!

  13. Kristy

    I love your blog and recipes – your writing has moved me to try recipes I would otherwise disregard. I love the humor too, and now you have taken it to a new beloved level by quoting Morrissey! :)

    I agree – if only we could all have access to and/or afford the best of foods.

  14. I’ve been tempted by the Anson Mills cornmeal but I think I’m afraid it will make me a convert and there goes the the budget. It is always a balancing act. I did decide several years ago that I’d rather eat less meat in order to eat humanely raised meat. My father always said he could smell the feedlot on commercial beef and after driving past a few I believe him.
    The potatoes look delicious!I love smashed for the reasons you listed but I maintain that some days nothing beats perfectly smooth and creamy mashers.

  15. Anka

    Deb, you said “try not to let the water boil”, with the potatoes in it. I am curious as to why not? I cook potatoes often (I’m in Poland, this is potato country) but the not-boiling is not a thing here, so I was wondering why?

  16. Ivana

    I too am put off by tattooed sleeves…but love Sean Brock!
    BTW- my daughter’s boyfriend (aka…my SIN-in law) just started
    a stage at HUSK in Nashville yesterday…living his dream…go Arnie go!!!

  17. I feel your pain! I’m totally on the organic, local, etc train, but sometimes I can’t help but get annoyed that I can’t afford a ticket in the first class car. ;) Still, I like that there are so many options, and I love recipes that (while delicious with all high-quality amazing ingredients) are just as amazing with “good enough” ingredients. One of our family favorites are old-school German breaded pork chops… this looks like a worthy upgrade! ;)

  18. Kimberly

    I just want to say that, in my kitchen, your site achieves what it sets out to achieve. I come here when I want something approachable and delicious, instead of having to choose one or the other. This is especially true for your Everyday Cakes section, which I use frequently.

  19. Sara

    Like Paula said I also totally appreciate your balance of ideals vs. reality. I find your recipes are easily adaptable for both high-end and low-end staples, and I trust when you say you can do with or without them. I have a big garden and eat seasonally/local as much as I can afford, but even I roll my eyes at the san marzano stuff–I’ve grown those and they are just boring processing tomatoes that hold up to tranporting, nothing to cherish IMO. Oh and “Vidalia” onions is another one(!) Is it just that a vegetable has to have an adjective/modifier in front of it now? Really for sustainability shouldn’t it be “the best oniony-flavored object that works texturally that you have access too”? Also, this recipe looks SO good and works with the hyper local cornmeal I have recently fallen in love with at our co-op (heh).

  20. deb

    Melinda — What I like to do is have a little of both. I breaded this in Indian Head cornmeal, about as basic and cheap as you can get. But when I make grits or polenta, I’d rather use the Anson Mills when I have it. I do the same with olive oil — the fancy stuff for salad dressings and finishing, to have raw, and a jug of more economical stuff for roasting and sauteeing. And butter! One kind that I’d bury in a cake with a lot of other flavors; a better kind for buttering bread.

    Tattoo sleeves — I should say that this is much less about having an issue with tattoos but the well-worn imagery didn’t suggest to me that there would be anything fresh or new inside the book.

    Ann — I suppose you could. Of course, I think creme fraiche would be better. Of course, that might defeat your purpose.

    Sally — Sorry, no link there. I just meant that I can share more if people would like. I just have one … spot left to figure out, whether something practical (spice shelves, etc.) or something impractical and beloved might win out. Hopefully soon.

    Anka — Actually, that was Brock’s curious instruction. I wasn’t sure why, but I followed it, but I wouldn’t know how it changed the potatoes unless I did half in my usual full-boil way. I also salted the water as he said, which I never do, and I’m not positive it even absorbed (but maybe it makes the potatoes creamier?).

    Sara — “Really for sustainability shouldn’t it be “the best oniony-flavored object that works texturally that you have access too”?” is such a great point. And I actually love Vidalias, and where Brock is, they’re local, but when I write a recipe with them, I always mention other mild/sweet onions varieties that are similar. (I list a bunch in the headnotes here.)

  21. Rebecca

    These pork chops look amazing! However, I do not have a cast iron skillet. Would a stainless steel one work just as well?

  22. rootlesscosmo

    Would the sticky-second-side problem be solved by using a nonstick pan? You’re not going to be deglazing so you don’t need the brown bits as the basis for a sauce.

  23. deb

    Both questions about skillet — I do think other skillets will work here. I am, however, partial to cast iron for frying because it holds heat so well and basically reseasons itself every time you fry something with a lot of oil. I found the sticking thing strange and hadn’t experience it before, why it would stick on the second side but not the first. Where’s Harold MacGee when you need him?

  24. Kendra

    Hi Deb,

    I’m a longtime fan of your site and use it all the time, along with your cookbook. As a vegetarian I appreciate your willingness to provide meat free alternatives. I also APPLAUD your sentiment in your post today. There are many people in this world and in the US who simply don’t have access to those kind of food sources. It can be a hardship on them. What your site wonderfully does is make a pathway to delicious food that can be cooked affordably and without trying to find organic local sourced lentils. Yes, we all agree that those lentils are the best. But a good recipe elevates regular lentils to a new height. Thank you.

  25. Why didn’t I see this a few hours ago?!?! Now I have to wait until this weekend to try this, but I’m positive it will be worth the wait. This is just the kind of meal my husband loves, thank you!

  26. Stein

    I second Kendra’s applause of your preface. How ironic that this fashion for down home chic is not only tiresome but elitist. To say nothing of exceeding the resources in time and money of most home cooks.

  27. Lauren

    Well you have certainly touched a “nerve” with this post haven’t you? Great stuff- as ALWAYS! You never leave us without a number of options, or opinions, and generally a link to something interesting or funny as well. ( Not to mention Jacob pix.) You have us all thinking and that is such a big part of good and creative cooking. I found your comment about your Grandmother hilarious too… put me in mind of my dear MIL… who was suspected of being crazy when found by the neighbors burying the silverware in the backyard. My FIL had to come home from work in response to their call, to see what she was doing…it was the last day she kept a Kosher kitchen. Here’s to buttermilk marinated pork!

  28. Dave

    Hi, is it possible to make this with bone in pork chops? Will they still be tendder due to the marinade? Longer cooking time?


  29. Southern Reader

    As a home cook on a budget, I love your recipes because they are refreshingly down-to-earth. They’re invariably delicious and full of personality, but they aren’t fussy, don’t demand perfection, and don’t dwell on brand names or the provenance of ingredients. Most of the time, this is my approach to Southern food as well. It would be ridiculous for me to break out Anson Mills grits for a weekday breakfast when Quaker quick-cooking grits taste fine and get me out the door for my commute.

    So I relate to your point that it’s unrealistic for home cooks to procure very particular local/fresh ingredients. But I do think it’s sort of odd for you to make that point in the context of reviewing a cookbook that is specifically about celebrating historically significant, regional ingredients and their purveyors. The book is literally titled “Heritage” and was written by a Southern restaurateur who has made it his life’s mission to unearth and elevate traditional Southern ingredients. It isn’t a book for New Yorkers who have no interest in the history of the South and Southern foodways.

    It’s also not a book for people who cook to put dinner on the table and aren’t interested in the details and particulars that matter to a restaurant chef. And that’s OK. There’s more to a cuisine than home cooking (Edna Lewis already covered that area masterfully for Southerners anyway).

    Chefs like Sean Brock matter to food culture because they develop the art of cooking and help to move a cuisine forward. There will always be a great need for chefs like you, Deb, to provide affordable, doable recipes for us hoi polloi, and to translate the food of unfamiliar cultures into our reality. But at the same time, cuisines need their Thomas Kellers and David Changs, who reinvent, refine, and, yes, fuss.

  30. Oh Deb! DEB! I thought a new post would serve as some sort of hail mary for the cake you posted last week (of which the image came to me at random moments every single day since running into it), but alas, I want..need chops and potatoes…..and chocolate cake to top it off. Bless you!

  31. Rebecca

    Hi Deb,

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love to cook and I love cooking with local, organic ingredients when I have the chance. I was able to shop like that when we had two incomes, but now that we are down to one income with two kids, other things have taken priority. Thanks for keeping it real.

    Also, I grew up in the Mississippi and I have to say that I feel the heritage movement is not representative of the culture at large in the South. Mississippi has a high number of low-income families and I can tell you from personal experience that the up scale ingredients mentioned in your post would be almost impossible for most people outside of the major cities to get their hands on. It makes “good food” seem unattainable, when that isn’t true. Have you checked out “Good and Cheap” by Leanne Brown? An awesome project taking on the above issue.

  32. C

    Hi Deb,
    Your posts always make me want to cook, yum~ And I learn about many great cookbooks and such from you too. Thanks!
    Congrat to you and your family, and take care! Post whatever you feel like eating; I’ll look forward to them.

  33. First the Pogues talk before Christmas Day, and now Morrissey/Smiths quoting – you are the BEST!

    I’m with you on being skeptical of impractical cookbooks, but every now and then you delve into them and rarely regret it. Looks really great.

  34. Bonny

    I see that one year ago was the kale-quinoa salad, which tells me exactly how long it has been since I’ve made anything BUT this salad. With a few adjustments: I’ve been doing kale, sometimes chard, red cabbage, celery, carrots, almonds and raisins, with the mustard vinaigrette, and (I am not kidding) we are still eating this salad every night a year later. Not a bit tired of it.

  35. Ariel

    ooh ooh ooh, the hubs and I are going to Husk at the end of the month when we go down to Charleston! This has me even more excited!

  36. Dayna

    I think I’ll make this for an ill colleague, likely along with the quick pickles. Would the potatoes reheat well? Or possibly be good cold as a sort of potato salad?

  37. deb

    Southern Reader — I completely agree with everything you have to say. My hope was that I could write about a concern I have with this thing I keep seeing in food publishing without coming off as disparaging Brock’s (excellent) cooking, goals (which I share) or impressive wealth of information about Southern foodways. If I simply loathed the book and everything it stood for, I’d never write about it here; I wouldn’t insult your attention span with a vendetta. If this comes off as picking on Brock, I didn’t do my job well.

    My quibble is with chefs and cookbooks that tell us, in one way or another, that the price of entry to cooking is high, involves limited access, and requires deep pockets. And I saw his book having two messages, one about his cooking and another about his sources. Since my focus here is cooking, I wanted to see if I could separate these messages out, if the recipes would work for those of us who don’t have access to or can’t afford his sources. The good news is, if this recipe is any indication, they do, which I hope is a win for everyone.

    Kathleen — Cream cheese? Or just basically any cheese that you enjoy in your mashed potatoes, grated finely if it won’t melt well in crumbles or chunks.

    Margaret — It is! My husband bought it for me for Valentine’s a couple years ago, with a star over his hometown and mine. He ordered it from Etsy, see here.

    Dayna — I’m going to get back to you on the reheat/cold thing as there’s a cup of them left (we were SO well-behaved last night) and I’ve totally called them for my lunch tomorrow. My hunch is that they’ll reheat fine and that I’ll be hungry enough after the gym not to care if they’re cold. ;)

  38. Charlotte

    First of all, I love your comments about the accessibility of food. I don’t think it is something that is discussed often enough in the “foodie” world. Most of us have to think wisely about how to use our food budgets, and to suggest that it isn’t worth buying non-processed food if it isn’t local/organic/whatever… well, quite frankly, it’s off-putting, discouraging and a little insulting. To (poorly) paraphrase Mark Bittman, we should be more concerned about feeding our families real food, and less where the food came from (as our budgets allow). So, thank you. For your comments.

    Secondly, one of my favorite restaurants in Milwaukee had a dish very similar to this, except in sandwich form! They took it off their menu, sob sob, but I’ve recreated it at home… with a side of your quick pickles, of course!

  39. Sarah U

    I ALMOST bought chops today, so looks like I’ll be picking some up next week. Can’t wait to try. Also, I always use my rolling pin to tenderize meat. My mom taught me that little trick. I imagine it would be easier than a cast iron pan!

  40. JP

    But if you do decide to use your cast iron pan for something besides cooking, Cook’s Illustrated had a tip where you can “chop” nuts by putting them in a large zip lock and whacking them with a cast iron skillet. I put the bag on my large wooden cutting board first so as not to damage our granite counter top. If you need coarsely chopped nuts this works well and if they are nuts like almonds that take forever to chop and skitter all over it works great! I toast my nuts first, too, if needed. Good upper body work out to boot. You will find that hand chopping nuts is very time consuming and doing it in the food processor makes them uneven- some powder, some big chunks. Just sayin’.

  41. SaraQ

    The show The Mind of a Chef is a great show. David Chang was the host for the first season and Sean Brock hosted the first half of the second season. Worth watching! It’s on both Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix.

  42. Pamela

    Well, if 30% or more of us ONLY ate grass feed beef, for example, ranchers would be jumping at the opportunity! AND prices would go down as sales went up. Remember 10 years ago how expensive those flat screen TVs were!!

    I am lucky here in Japan, even little hole in the wall places all use fresh produce purchased that morning at the local market. It’s the big hotel restaurants that use canned stuff.

  43. Moonica

    Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Deb, with your recipes from 6 months ago for summer-having parts of the world :)

    Dying to try these, as I can rarely be bothered to crumb things. This sounds doable and delish.

  44. Leah

    Hi Deb,
    I keep kosher. I am interested in trying this recipe, but it would need some adjustments. Chicken for pork is easy, but chicken is meat, and I couldn’t therefore use the buttermilk. I could try substituting something for the buttermilk I suppose, but is that not a cornerstone of the recipe? Would fish or tofu (or something else) work in place of meat, or should I perhaps give in already? Any suggestions?
    Thank you and Mazel Tov!!

  45. Kimberly

    The recipe for the pork chops prep says to pound them to AN EIGHTH of an inch thick? does that risk tearing them? What thickness should I start out with? The ones in the store vary a bit. Of course, now I want to find my local farmers market and splurge.

  46. Allie

    Hi Deb, do you think blue cornmeal would work instead of yellow cornmeal? Is there a difference? I happen to have a bunch of blue cornmeal on hand and would love to use it. Thanks!

  47. Anne in NC

    These sound really delish, but are you sure about pounding the chops to 1/8′ thick!? 1/8″ is pretty thin and the chops in the picture do not look that thin. I know they thicken up when cooked, but I don’t think many can get an even 1/8″ thick without pounding a hole through them. Just checkin’.

  48. Hi Deb ~this this recipe looks great – thanks! The link to your kitchen doesn’t work though…it brings me to your raspberry swirl cheesecake! I want to see your kitchen…help!

  49. deb

    1/8-inch thickness — Good point. Let’s call it 1/4-inch instead. Brock said 1/8-inch but I’m pretty sure I didn’t get mine thinner than 1/4-inch. One of my counters had a bunch of glass canisters out on it, the other is a cart and felt wobbly, so I pounded them (in plastic!) on the tile floor. Crouching on the floor awkwardly with cutlets did not bring out my patience so I somewhat rushed, not sure if they could have gotten thinner.

    Allie — I hadn’t considered it, but nothing I’ve read has suggested it wouldn’t work. Let us know how it goes, if you can.

    Melanie — Whoops, I was just being confusing. The link was supposed to reference me moving to a new apartment/kitchen, do not actually have a kitchen tour put together yet. I’ll remove it.

  50. Anne

    Dear Deb, while reading this article I marveled again at what a top-flight writer you are. It’s not just that the narrative style is so readable or that the content is so cool. I love that it’s real. I love that it’s open and honest. And intelligent. I love that you talk to me as one passionate cook to another. And I LOVE that you make me laugh.

    I think this article is one of your best. As other commenters said above, you nailed it. While being respectful to the excellent cookbook author, you explored a current issue with true insight. “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” (A.Pope)

    Funny, after following your blog for years, it never occurred to me to think of your recipes as “doable” plebeian fare to get meals on the table! Wow. As a chef, I find many of your offerings gorgeously sophisticated and well above the skill level of the home cook. Often you create amazing items with such ease, seemingly unaware of how challenging they are! But you make it sound so fun and delicious I want to rush to the kitchen and give it a try.

    And Southern cuisine? My parents moved from the Carolinas to the Midwest before I was born, and my mama was the only one in the neighborhood who served grits regularly and made fabulous fried chicken at home. And jambalaya. And cornbread all the time. Sweet potatoes.Butter beans. Fricasee’ (with the last syllable pronounced “sea,” not “say,” thankyouverymuch). And delicious rice, which was common in our house, but not in our town. Every now and then, she would send for a real Virginia ham, missing it so much.My point is,I adored Southern food before I knew there was such a thing as “southern” food. And, hey, it’s just one person’s opinion, but I found your commentary apt, not odd. Keep up the good work!

  51. So sorry, I just reread my post and it sounds like I was denigrating home cooks. Nooooo! Not intended, not at all!! I just meant that many great recipes I find on Smitten Kitchen are fairly sophisticated and require advanced skills (in my opinion), and can be a bit challenging for the average home cook who does not cook as a profession. (Oh, jeez, i’m taking this hole deeper, aren’t I? My apologies :)

  52. Dahlink

    My two grandmothers were both transplanted from Texas to California–I guess that makes me a tiny bit Southern. I will make this recipe and think of them and their down home cooking (although I am pretty sure they never would have put goat cheese in anything!) One family did keep a nanny goat to provide for the child who could not drink cow’s milk, though.

  53. Hina

    Deb, do you think thinly pounded steak would work instead of the pork (we don’t eat pork) ? If so, would it have a similar soak time?

    p.s. I love your blog and every one of your recipes I have tried has been delicious.

  54. Cindy

    Thanks for your honest assessment of this book and farm to table snobbery in general. I’ve had the same emotions- please: Chefs, cookbook writers, and home enthusiasts- no food-shaming or ingredient-shaming! Not everyone has access to organic/artisanal/heirloom ingredients; not everyone has the money.

  55. Robin

    This is what I occasionally do only with chicken breasts, since I don’t eat pork. Instead of cayenne pepper in the breading, I always put some hot sauce in the buttermilk marinade. Turns the buttermilk a lovely shade of pink and permeates the meat. Know what I’m making for dinner tonight.

  56. Mary Kay Michaels

    In this recipe, you say “Heat your oven to 200 degrees.” Why? What are we doing with the heated oven? Did I miss something? Thanks.

  57. Which reminds me–is anyone else on this wonderful blog bothered by the totally meaningless “natural” and “ALL NATURAL” labels on everything in the market? And why on earth is non-gluten showing up on hundreds of products that couldn’t possibly contain gluten? ARGGGH.

  58. Jenny

    I have read your blog for years and never commented but it is just too much of a coincidence that yesterday I received my FIRST EVER cast iron skillet AND you posted a perfect recipe with which to christen it! I know what I’m doing this weekend! Thanks Deb!

  59. deb

    Hina — I think it could work, although my first choice for a pork replacement would probably be chicken thigh cutlets.

    Anne — Wow, thank you. And I don’t think it came off as denigrating to anyone, no worries.

    Mary Kay — You can keep your pork chops warm while you finish the potatoes. This was a big help for me, as I’m not a multi-tasker.

    Paula — You’re completely correct and I’m curious what Brock had in mind! I’m going to read more about his ingredients and see if I can come back with more information.

    Paula — Total pet peeve of mine too. I feel like you’re allowed to slap anything on a label and the truth is rarely scrutinized. That said, it’s a pretty good rule that if something says it’s healthy, it’s probably not, or at least hiding something it hopes a “good for you!” “full of nutrients!” label will overcome.

  60. Hina

    Halal meat variety is severely limited in Arizona (amateur butchers)…I’d have to pound out boneless thighs myself…I do love chicken thighs though so I will try it. Thanks Deb!

  61. What an interesting take on the cookbook. And I agree these ingredients may seem expensive and hard to find, which may put off the ordinary homecook. But from your photos, the pork chops with goat cheese smashed potatoes look smashing. I can’t keep my eyes off the potatoes alone. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your insights, Deb!

  62. @ Anne (70 and 71): Gradually I’ve been cooking more and more of my recipes from here, and what I’ve noticed is things that seemed too intimidating to me when I first started browsing here, no longer scare me. I think Deb’s style of explaining, direction-giving, and sometimes flat-out reassurances are what can help an at-home cook to trust herself and just go for it!

  63. Tallybalt

    I know what you mean about seeing those cookbooks devoted to heritage food featuring cooks with too many tattoos and piercings. It’s become a cliche. The irony, I find, is that they harken to a more “authentic” time of cooking, and a time when people just did not tolerate those tattoos and piercings. But I do love the philosophy and recipes.

  64. Margaret

    Paula, the buttermilk you buy in stores is not left over from making butter–it is a cultured product, like yogurt. So, it is therefore possible to have “whole milk” buttermilk, though I don’t think I have ever seen it in my ordinary suburban supermarket.

  65. deb

    Hina — And here I buy meat at a Halal butcher all of the time — totally not fair. A small one opened in my neighborhood with great meat and great prices. I mean, obviously I didn’t get the pork chops there or anything… ;)

    Tattoo — I promise, I’m not anti-tattoo. (I even have one. But let’s not talk about that.) (Also my dark and twisted sense of humor finds the 1993 slide to be the best Mother’s Day New Yorker cover of all time, not that anyone asked.) It was the tattooed forearms and the harvest-from-the-field cupping that, to me, is an overused hacky image. It suggested to me that there wouldn’t be anything fresh or new inside, when in fact, there is.

  66. Claire

    Made this last night! Upshot of NYC weather – early release from work providing just enough time to hit the butcher and get these pork chops marinating before dinner. Such an EXCELLENT meal. (Though how could anything with butter + half and half + goat cheese + starchy potatoes go wrong??) I made your quick fridge pickles as suggested, too, Deb. They should be a requirement with this meal. Thanks for something so damn tasty, satisfying, and really quite easy to pull off. (Oh, AND thanks for the thoughtful take on the food moment that the Brock cover. All should check out today’s post at Lottie + Doof, too.)

  67. Mary Kay Michaels

    Thank you, Deb for answering my posted comment. I’m new to this blog and enjoying it immensely! No one ever responds to a post. Awesome!

  68. Deb,
    thanks for the reply. Of course two cornmeals! I too have two of most of my staples. One for in things one for on things. Olive oil, butter (actually since my father moved in with us and started putting butter on everything this one no longer holds true), even honey- why not extend the circle out a bit to include cornmeal?

  69. SD

    Agreed, Deb– I feel most inspired by the cooking of my female ancestors (as enshrined in old mimeographed community cookbooks), which were about transforming the humblest ingredients into airy cakes and flaky pastry. Also, did you see the shout-out you got in the Grub Street Diary today at NYMag? The editor of Saveur says he uses your pancake recipe!

  70. Sarah R.

    This has inspired me to try to make cornmeal fried tofu. Of all the breadings I think I’ve tried making fried tofu with, I don’t think I’ve attempted a legitimate southern fried version.

  71. Could you box this up and send it to me???? The goat cheese smashed potatoes are inspired–I can’t wait to make some!
    And who can say no to fried pork chops? Though here in Indiana, we might just call them tenderloins!

  72. Kris

    I think my favourite posts of yours after following you for a few years now are the ones where you pick an uber-trendy chef and criticize their uber-cheffy book. I hadn’t even heard of this guy before I read this post, but as soon as I read “sleeve tattoos cupping sacred rainbow beans” I knew exactly where we were at. Kind of ironically you and all the others going on about Anson Mills products are REALLY making me want to try them…

  73. Well I don’t don’t have a clue who that chef is. I am going to have to do some searching. I’m only going to do that, because this dinner is over the top for simple goodness. That treatment of the pork chops–OMG! Thank you for
    ‘showing me the light’, Sister. Laughing of course.

  74. Oh my God< this reads so delightful. I must try the pork chops and the mashed potatoes.Thanks Debbie
    I cooked the Braised Chuck Roast. It is a dream and it will be served with home -backed bread on Sunday at my friends 90th birthday.

  75. ATG

    I’m making this the next time I entertain (I don’t eat pork or chicken). As I was reading, I thought I wanted to serve the cutlets and mash with a bibb lettuce salad and green goddess dressing, but the pickled tomato salad sounds even better. QUESTION: Did you happen to see Adam Roberts’ post on food blogging and how its unsustainable as a career. I was wondering whether you had thoughts on the matter, especially because you don’t do ads.

  76. Lisa

    Your opening rocked it! I teach elementary school, and when I talk about things my family has eaten (or the kids see the leftovers in my lunch), many of my students are slack-jawed. The gaps in food access, even in my small North American city, are huge and appalling. Thanks for asking your wide audience to think about that. And, as an aside, the last sentence in the pork chop prep needs an “in” (oil in the pan)

  77. Julie

    I wasted no time in making this (it was a reward for a 2 1/2 hour job interview today) and for the love of GOD I will never coat food in anything but cornmeal again. So crunchy and easy and the potatoes were killer. Without a doubt your blog Deb is where I go when I need to eat something that soothes the soul.

  78. L.

    How about veal chops? Verrrry not kosher, but other than that…? Also, is whey and milk an acceptable substitution for meat tenderizing? It works for baking but I’ve never tried to tenderize any meat with a milk product.

  79. Kay

    Do you really mean 1/4 cup salt added to the water to boil the potatoes????? If so, why so much?
    Really love so many of your recipes.

  80. em

    I’m not a food scientist or anything, but boiling (or simmering) new potatoes in heavily salted water is something of a local specialty around here and I have a couple of suggestions as to why it would make a difference.

    1. Salt doesn’t in my experience, absorb into the potato as much as lightly and delicately coat the outside when the potatoes are drained- since potatoes love salt, this can be a good way to get a very even, very palatable layer on your spuds without actually adding as much to the finished dish as you’d need to to get the same sense of saltiness if you salted the smashed ‘taters after the fact.

    2. That much salt will significantly raise the boiling temp of the water. Potatoes cooked in boiling salt water will cook hotter and faster than normal, and potatoes cooked at just off the boil in salt water may actually be cooking at 212 F/100C.

    3. This is the part where I’m obviously not a food scientist: Salt can be a volatile sort of ingredient- impacting moisture levels in particular. It’s possible that the salt is doing something on a chemical level to affect starch extraction/moisture retention/flavor development.

    Just some thoughts. Thanks, Deb, for another great post!

  81. I love goat cheese, love much! I use to add it in mixed salads or in pasta. Never experimented goat cheese with potatoes but it looks delish. It will happen in my kitchen tomorrow per sure!

  82. Marbarre

    Just had this for dinner tonight. Had to use components in the pantry which consisted of Jim Dandy Grits and coconut oil for frying…..totally delicious….potatoes were incredible, fortunately had goat cheese and chives on hand.Can’t imagine the corn meal coating not being amazing on anything…and the potatoes are going into permanent rotation…..makes me want to get the cookbook.

  83. I like to approach books/recipes/ concepts like this with a theme frequently featured in your writing: use the best quality ingredients you can both afford and find. I don’t see any difference between using Anson Mills to bread a porkchop and using Valhrona feves in a chocolate chip cookie. I think the more important thing to take away from Heritage is just that, the heritage.

  84. Thank you for recognizing that good food is more about making the best of what you have rather than purchasing the best. That’s not something all of us can obtain, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still have amazing food. And this recipe looks amazing.

  85. Sara

    Okay I made it. About a half-batch for two with a mix of high/low quality ingredients ;) And I can say it’s a delicious and fast meal to get on the table (w/ a little advance prep). I was skeptical of the goat cheese but it was really good with the potatoes (think it would work with other cheeses too though). I did 4 small chops 2 at a time w/o changing the oil and it was fine, had the sticking thing on a couple of side 2s also, wonder what gives?

    So I have this book on hold at the library and it will be interesting to see if I’ll use it more, or just stick with the smitten-approved one. (as I did w/the lentil/chickpea salad in the girl with a Pig book).

  86. Lauren

    I have read (and cooked!) from this website for, I don’t know, five? six? years and never commented. I live in Charleston, mere blocks from all three of Brock’s restaurants, and let me just say: AMEN, MY FRIEND. PREACH. The precious cupping of the beans. The sleeve tattoos. It is all just too much. I am so over-saturated and exhausted by it all. As my grandmother (a native Charlestonian born in 1916 and raised in what was still, for all intents and purposes, the reconstruction-era city) would have said: “it’s just dinner.”

    (Came by for the oft-used asparagus/pancetta hash recipe, and I’m off! Thanks for all you do.)

  87. JP

    Just a quick comment on foods chosen…I use regular food from the grocery store, not organic, often generic. Almost always in season because of bargain prices and produce tastes best then. Of course, the produce where I live (CA) is some of the best in the nation, so I am very lucky. However, I really believe that how the food is prepared makes all the difference. A well seasoned bowl of pinto beans can beat out a prime rib roast. A bowl of wonderful soup can please me more then a restaurant meal. It all depends on the amount of care taken when cooking and that little bit of love that only home cooking offers. The ingredients do not have to be expensive or exotic to make a very tasty meal. As a matter of fact, some of the least expensive foods are the most satisfying.

  88. Dee

    Re why they tend to stick on the second side: my experience suggests it’s because the first side is drier when it goes into the hot oil. The coating on the second side picks up moisture from the cooking meat, and the difference in consistency makes for sticking.

  89. Cristina

    I made these tonight and they were delicious. I’ve never soaked pork chops in buttermilk before and I do think the difference in tenderness and moisture was appreciable. While I am very lucky to have a local mill ( in Pasadena, CA) where I buy most of my grains, including polenta, I wouldn’t at all regret using any coarse corn meal from my local Safeway.

    I did make a slight departure on the potatoes, but only out of necessity since I didn’t have goat cheese. I used crumbled blue cheese and leftover bacon from breakfast. I did not omit the cream or butter, which my tastebuds enjoyed, although my waistline might regret, but I kept to a petite serving. What I did like was the technique of cooking the potatoes at a simmer in heavily salted water. I was initially concerned that the potatoes would be too salty but they were perfect. As was the texture.

    I really enjoy all of your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in the kitchen!

  90. jen

    So in a lame effort to make these slightly healthier for my current prep for a vacation that requires a swimsuit in a few weeks, I tried to oven fry these. Utter fail. Next time I’ll just fry them in my cast skillet. But even with the butter cut way down, the potatoes are my new favorite. So. Good.

  91. celine

    2 suggestions: Turkey breast, cut into medallions, makes the best sub for porkchops in something like this. I love chicken thighs, but don’t think the fatty bits cook out enough for my taste when cooked so briefly.
    Also, anyone doing non-dairy or kosher, you could sour a non-dairy milk (like soy or nut), since the milk is a tenderizer. You’d have to mix up the side, but maybe a vinegar-based warm potato salad?

  92. Leah

    Deb, I appreciate that your honesty punctures some of the preciousness that surrounds current food trends. It seems to me like a curiously privileged position to be able to prioritize extraordinarily expensive heritage beans, humanely-raised pork, and the like — and I say this as someone who shares values of locally sourced, responsibly obtained food, because agricultural integrity is an ecological necessity, in addition to being a moral good. However, I find the self-righteousness of some of the food-to-table proponents to be truly off-putting. When so much of the world (including many in the US) eats only what it can acquire cheaply and can’t afford to fetishize food, it seems singularly distasteful to create exclusionary, elitist cultures around nutrition.

  93. deb

    rachellake, but more of a general comment — First, thank you. But I do worry I’m not getting my message across well because, for me, while I confess a delight for Valrhona chocolate products (they’ve ruined me, although I use the far-more-affordable Guittard just as often), I really try to make it exceedingly clear that nobody else has to buy them to cook well. My cookbook(s) would never say “1 pound Valrhona feves” with no alternatives, no suggestion that if this wasn’t in your interest or budget to buy that you would still have a great outcome; I never write “your best vanilla” or “best quality extra-virgin olive oil” as if everyone has it. What I kept hoping I’d find in Brock’s book was “2 cups cornmeal — Anson Mills is our absolute favorite and we use it in all my restaurants, but your favorite grocery store brand will work here too.” While I know that’s more my style of writing and my goals here, not others, it still felt alienating. Maybe we’re not the intended audience of the book, but that too is a shame, as recipes like this show there’s so much we can take away from his cooking, even if we don’t have his access.

    (And, I mean, FWIW, I didn’t seek this book out to make an example of it. His publicity people sent it to me. Then I gave it away because I’m difficult. But my point being, they thought we’d like it. And I mostly do.)

  94. Well the truth is there are a lot of ingredients that taste WORLDS better if you get them from a better source. I understand it may come across as pretentious to some though.

    Personally, I stick to budget first in the hopes of being reasonable and retiring early.

    Meanwhile, I keep an eye out for the “good stuff” like wild blueberries anytime I go back home to Maine. :) I think that’s a good compromise.

  95. Carmen

    Thank you for expressing an opinion! These cookbooks put me off too. Yes the cost factor, but mainly how the the heck in my day am I supposed to find time to find Heritage Pork? I guess that guy has time.

  96. Michele

    I made this for dinner last night and the potatoes were amazing! My husband doesn’t even really like goat cheese, but he loved these smashed potatoes as much as I did.

    One thing I still can’t figure out: What the heck is the real difference between POLENTA/GRITS and CORNMEAL? I assumed that cornmeal is just more finely ground than polenta, so I bought polenta and ground it finely for the chops. The crust turned out ok, but not great… maybe the cornmeal is also softer or more processed somehow? I’ve looked at various parts of the trusty interwebs, but haven’t found a definitive answer.

  97. Mags

    I’m pretty sure you know it, but just in case I’m going to tell you. The reason I (and I guess most everyone else) love your recipes is because you ask those feasibility questions and don’t require us to buy the absolute best ingredients possible (that I would need to walk two miles in 3 foot snow to get after spending 2 hours figuring out where they are sold). So, thank you.

  98. Susan

    Wow..what a discussion! I need to add to the conversation! You’ve been my intermediary to new food philosophies and realizations. You present many of them via recipes that have helped my cooking by stretching my skills in a very encouraging way. You remind us all that you are not a chef but a curious cook who is willing to experiment and that all of this can be done in a tiny, minimally equipped kitchen! You remain practical in the face of fuss and convey to your readers when a recipe can be elevated, dumbed down, or simplified and still get great results. I appreciate that you don’t pass judgment on the many food philosophies while bringing them to our attention to let us draw our own conclusions. I am able to keep an open mind, use what works for me and shelve the rest until I am able to understand or find value in it. Thanks for that.

  99. mary

    Hi, I made these last night and can personally attest that you should NOT use coarse ground cornmeal/polenta/grits. I used coarse cornmeal which is all I had (and which do not look anything like the fine grind in Deb’s photos. Not only did most of it fall off while it was frying, but it was hard, beyond crunchy and inedible, but this was my fault not the recipe’s (or Deb’s). Just don’t want anyone else to think they could make that swap and have it work or that the texture of the cornmeal doesn’t matter when it really does. My dog had a feast anyway. Potatoes were awesome. Did not have goat cheese, used a touch of cream cheese and touch of sour cream. Excellent.

  100. I made the chops tonight for the kids and they were fantastic. We are not a meat eating family most days. I just don’t like it that much and since I’m the cook, they don’t see a lot of meat at home. My 12 yr old son sat down at the table and asked “what are these?” He had literally never heard of a pork chop! (not to worry, he can identify nearly every veggie ever grown, he eats well…) let me tell you, the kids were licking their fingers and plates to get every morsel of that chop. such a simple recipe but with the potatoes a sure fire hit. Bonus points for being ready from fridge to table in under 20mins (Is that a category in your recipes?) I didn’t have buttermilk so soured some milk with lemon juice for marinade. Not going to lie, I never would have made this if it wasn’t on SK. you made me a believer. thanks for branching out.

  101. Elisa

    I come back to your site again and again not necessarily because of the food and recipes you post (it oftentimes doesn’t exactly match my palate), but because I love your style of writing. Unlike any other food blog I read, you always keep it real, not pretentious, and oftentimes get me to laugh out loud. Reading your posts is like eating comfort food– always gets me to feel better no matter what mood I’m in.

    So thanks for your thoughtful words on the mission of your blog, budget and accessibility of being a “foodie”. I agree with other posters that this is an issue that’s pushed under the rug–the fact that those who are struggling to make ends may feel alienated from the foodie culture by this perception to be part of it you need to buy the highest-end, costliest ingredients from the fanciest grocery store. Thank you for bringing it up and getting others to think about what their mission as a food blogger should be.

  102. I loved your comments about accessibility. I was recently gifted a Jamie Kennedy cookbook and while it is beautiful, and I”m sure the recipes are amazing….I find it intimidating. I love to cook, but the idea that if I make a sandwich, it must be on homemade sourdough bread (from homemade starter), topped with pickles from the previous year’s harvest, and sliced chicken I raised myself… makes for a beautiful story, but it just doesn’t fit in my reality as a working parent trying to put healthy, homemade food on the table everyday.

    This recipe looks fantastic. I have pork chops in my freezer and plain old cornmeal in my cupboard. I do believe I shall put this on next week’s meal plan!

  103. Trish

    Oh man! I’m 22 weeks pregnant as well and you are basically speaking my food language right now. If it’s fried, includes cream, could be served south of the boarder, or has an inordinate amount of butter, I’m there! Thanks for this. Definitely trying the smashed potatoes with dinner tonight!

  104. Allison

    I made the smashed potatoes and loved them! When I live in a country that sells pork I’ll be sure to make them with the fried pork chops.

  105. Noga

    For any vegetarians who might be looking at this recipe, I used tofu instead of the pork (marinated for about half an hour) and it worked really well. I recommend it!

  106. Cordelia

    Just ate this for dinner. Yummy and thank you for all the wonderfully good recipes you bring to us.

    I forgot the salt in the potatoes and I let them boil and I used salted butter. Not sure how different they tasted however the were so good. I think my daughter would live on potatoes if she could. She wants a big bowl of these for lunch tomorrow.

  107. I made these last night exactly as recipe written. Served with broccoli. Planned for leftovers but husband ate them too! Potatoes were amazing! Can’t wait to make again. I used pork cutlets and tried for 1/8 but was probably closer to 1/4. Yum!

  108. Willing to bet I am in the only family who prefaced the eating of this meal with a Jewish prayer. It was yummy except I undercooked the potato dish. So now with the leftovers, I poured it all into a bakeware dish and shredded cheese over the top, and it’s about to become Au Gratin.

  109. Lyra

    Since Hubby Alex can’t do too much pork at a time anymore, we made the recipe for one single pork chop and split it in half for two sandwiches and it was great! With some roasted asparagus ‘fries’ and a Hawaiian roll bun, it was delicious! The pork chop was super crispy and the cayenne gave it just the right amount of kick.

    Thanks for another great one, Deb! And for never insisting we throw the grey salt into pasta water or to buy the fanciest butter possible just to cream it into a chocolate cake. Your honesty and genuine-ness always make this blog a joy to read and to cook from.

  110. Martha

    We made the pork chops last night for dinner and they were perfect – and delicious. We will definitely make these again. So simple for something so good.

  111. J

    We made these! It’s so weird- have you ever had this happen- the pork chops I bought were smelly.
    They weren’t bad, I used a meat thermometer to test done-ness, but the chops had a barnyard smell.
    They tasted totally fine (good, with the recipe and all), but I couldn’t get past the odd smell.
    I was raised kosher and to this day eating anything from a pig makes me want to apologize to someone first. I don’t know why.

  112. Maya

    We made this over the weekend, and it was even more delicious than we expected! (And we expected it to be amazing.) The cornmeal crust was crisp, not heavy, and stayed put, while the chops remained moist. The potatoes were super easy and heavenly. Great leftovers too!

  113. Sarah U

    Hands down, most fav pork chop recipe to date, which is saying a lot because my pork chop, onion, apple one skillet recipe was my fav weeknight dinner meal. We made these for the first time tonight and hubs declared it “the best tasting pork chop I’ve ever had.” So, I think we have a winner. We love SK!!

  114. “Whole milk buttermilk”–“buttermilk” used to refer to the thin whey-like liquid leftover after making butter, which is so concentrated with lactose that it sours very quickly. But for a long time now, “buttermilk” has simply referred to milk (whether whole or skim) cultured with particular bacteria, and that’s the only kind you can buy in a store. If you used “real” buttermilk leftover from making butter it would be quite skim, and you’d definitely be out-Brocking Sean Brock.

  115. Amy

    A delayed response to Paula’s “And why on earth is non-gluten showing up on hundreds of products that couldn’t possibly contain gluten?” – I used to also be annoyed (of course baking powder is gluten free!), but then my husband was diagnosed with Celiac and I had to start reading labels a lot closer. Sometimes things are manufactured in the same facility or on the same equipment as wheat products, and so they cannot be gluten-free unless they are tested. It is now so nice to be able to quickly glance at a product and know that it’s gluten-free without dissecting the label. While some of this is borne out of the gluten-free trend, shopping for those with Celiac is much easier now. (And thanks Deb for the recipe! We’re going to make it tonight :) )

  116. Maureen

    YUM! I made both recipes this weekend (in addition to the Easiest Fridge Pickles) and the whole meal was to die for. My boyfriend doesn’t like pork chops and he LOVED this recipe. I could eat goat cheese for every meal so it’s no surprise I was licking the bowl of potatoes after dinner. Awesome recipes! Can’t wait to try some more :)

  117. Anne

    Just checking in to say I’ve made this several times since you posted the recipe. I’ve never been a fan of pork chops but I love these!

  118. Teresa

    This recipe reminded me of the method my mother used to prepare bone in pork chops. She dipped chops in beaten eggs, then dredged in crushed cracker crumbs (ritz or saltines) and fried in Crisco (in an electric skillet). Very simple and certainly tasty. Thanks for the memory!

  119. Eileen

    I love (love!) this recipe and have made it several times! I so hate when a reviewer changes a recipe and then “reviews” it so I’m asking for a pardon first. It was an act of desperation. I had a large pkg of bone in chops I had to prep for future meals. Didn’t know what I was doing but thought a marinate would be good. Didnt have buttermilk so I used plain, non fat Greek yogurt. Slathered them, put in fridge and couple days later put in freezer. Decided to make this dish but forgot I was suppose to pound them before marinating. What I found was they pounded out thin more easily and I just pounded around the bone. Only thing I did differently but Wowzers!! Don’t know if it was the marinate time, bone in or what but this became a whole different level! Even my husband noticed and seriously I wanted to have leftovers for breakfast! I also used grapeseed oil. I’ve read your book cover to cover and wish we were neighbors or at least BFF so I could call you and ask what to make for dinner!

  120. stephanie

    after several “eh” pork chop recipes, i have been making pork chops this way for a bit now, i.e. schnitzel. i fry mine in veg oil in my big all purpose nonstick skillet and don’t have any issues with sticking, but you really have to dump in enough oil so they have room to “swim.” (i tried to avoid doing this the first couple of times but it really makes life easier. there’s also no black bits and no need to use multiple pans or multiple batches of oil.) also? just buy thin cut boneless chops. quickest dinner ever and so good. pulverized corn flake crumbs also work for breading :)

    now these potatoes….these i have to get on immediately!

  121. Pam K.

    Oh, Deb, say it isn’t so. I am so weary of the whole gluten-free movement. While my heart goes out to anyone with celiac disease, the medical literature reveals there is no evidence that thousands suffer from gluten “intolerance.” The way food writers have jumped on this bandwagon just echoes the sudden burgeoning of products jamming the store shelves, from marketers trying to profit from bad science. For most of us, gluten is not the enemy. I tried a gluten fast for a month to see if some of my pesky health issues might benefit, but guess what? No change. However, I can report that I was absolutely miserable trying out GF bread, GF pancakes, and etc. Give me wheat flour any time. Extra gluten, please!

    1. deb

      Pam — I’m not sure I follow. This site isn’t gluten-free; it’s gluten-full. But we wanted to do a single newsletter feature highlighting the naturally (as in, no flour mixes or special ingredients) gluten-free recipes on the site that may be helpful to people who either don’t eat gluten, or more likely want to accommodate someone who doesn’t. This recipe is a perfect example. I had no idea it was GF until someone pointed it out; it’s just good. We change newsletter themes each week.

  122. Jan

    I delight in your writing, Deb, and your sensible approach to life and cooking. I read nearly all of the comments here, well, at least half of them, and found this topic, while overlooked and/or overdue, still timely and spot-on. I agree about foodie snobbishness and the high cost of cooking as some chef authors recommend, and I’m then reminded of the issue of needing grocery stores with fresh produce in poor neighborhoods. Your readers, including me, are so lucky to have the ingredient-sourcing challenges of the generally privileged, while so much of our world struggles to get enough to eat, as stated much better by Leah in #124. That said, one of my issues with commercial pork is that the flavor has been bred out along with the fat. I am leaning toward the best-meat-I-can- buy/afford-as-a-treat approach. A friend bought a quarter of a beef that was grass fed as well as locally raised and slaughtered. She said she’s never going back because of the difference in taste, though all the other reasons to go this route are important, too. I suspect that even the grass fed, organic ground beef at Costco is just paste that may merely be less contaminated than other ground beef. Costco’s meat is all “humanely slaughtered” a la Temple Grandin, which is good, but those two words together often make me think I should be a vegetarian, at least until I smell the bacon cooking. Sigh. I guess we can make our lives even more complicated than they already are by virtue of being alive in 2016. All I care about when I read your blog is enjoying your writing about life– including topics like this one–your life, and your recipes. And how soon I will need another binder for all the ones I’ve printed.

  123. Lauren

    If you ever can find a jar of Chow Chow in your grocery store, this is the green tomato relish I believe Sean Brock is referring to. I had some in my fridge and put it with this meal the last time and it was amazing!

  124. We are planning on making this tonight. Why do you have the direction “preheat the oven to 200”? for the pork chops. There’s no follow up that they go in the oven and I swiftly looked through all the comments and nobody seemed to have noticed/questioned this.

  125. Just finished inhaling this! Hadn’t made pork chops in yrs because I overcooked them too many times. This recipe was perfect! One change I made was to buy a small pork loin roast and slice it thin. No need to pound out. You are so right about the potatoes! Will never make mashed again! Great time of year for comfort food! Thanks Deb!

  126. Janet

    Revisiting this post from today’s digest-

    Deb, I love this piece! This line stopped me in my tracks:

    “To me, the best recipes transcend their ingredients. They make the humdrum ingredients most of us are compromising with in early March magical, not the other way around. These are the recipe stories I hope this site tells.”

    You are succeeding. Keep up the good work!

  127. Christine S

    I was disappointed in the pork chops, mine were too thin and rather tasteless even though I marinated the chops for 24 hours. The potatoes on the other hand were to die for! Loved, loved the goat cheese addition.

  128. Christine S

    After reading through the reviews after I made the pork chops, I now know what went wrong. I used coarse ground polenta and thin cut pork chops. The pork chops were dried out even marinating in buttermilk for 24 hours and the polenta was tough almost inedible. But th potatoes were so much better than mashed!

  129. Emily

    I wouldn’t make the pork chops this way again- they weren’t that interesting or flavorful. The potatoes were amazing and I would make them weekly if I could.

  130. I made these pork chops as advised in the recipe and they were good, but not amazing. It was a great deal of work for not much reward, not worth the effort.

    I will say the crunchyness was great, however it was kind of tasteless and the cornmeal crust did not adhere very well.

    The potatoes, however were fantastic!

  131. Morgan

    I made these last week as well and like other commenters found the potatoes WONDERFUL (I used 1/2 of half and half and 1/2 almond milk) but the pork chops just OK. My pork chops were under seasoned, I’m not sure if I forgot to season them or if they just need heavy seasoning to stand up against the cornmeal treatment. With that being said my boyfriend loved them, so who knows? I paired this with green/ fava beans for a bit of green in the sea of carbs. Thanks!

  132. Rob Beck

    Deb, you’re already high in my books for your wonderful down-to-earth recipes. You just gained several notches upward with your Morrissey comment!

  133. Barclay Terhune

    Houston has begun to dry out and the grocery stores have finally restocked. This recipe looks to be perfect for a “comeback” dinner.

  134. Jennifer Mikhail

    These pork chops were amazing! Just made them tonight and I am so happy with them! Didn’t change a thing – they were perfect!

    1. Wow do you love cooking dinner and lunch and breakfast for your family because I do…! I help my mom cook and it is just amazing cooking for a family.😊😋😉😆

    2. Corynne

      The oven is for keeping the chops warm while cooking the remainder (if doing in batches) or while waiting for the potatoes to finish.

  135. Corynne

    These were delicious! I only had 4 chops so I basically did 2/3 the recipe and adjusted accordingly and It was perfect for 2 adults with 2 left over lunches. I use a large wooden rolling pin when I need to pound meat, but did give the cast iron pan a try and scared the crap out of my kids in the process (ha!). I only marinated in buttermilk for about 2 hours and they were still pretty good. I imagine if I had gone overnight or at least over the 4 they would’ve been a bit more tender, but they were still quite tasty!

  136. Paula Brody

    Dear, dear Deb–As I understand it, buttermilk is what’s left at the bottom after you’ve churned your butter. Why, then, designate “whole” milk buttermilk?

  137. Kathy

    I made the pork chops for dinner tonight and they were delicious! It helps to season the pork chops generously. Thanks for another great weeknight recipe!

  138. Nicole

    So I used a non-stick skillet and they still stuck on the second side! What is that all about??? Still tasted amazing though!

    1. Theresa

      Is there any way to make the potatoes in advance? Do you think you could boil and smash them the day before and then heat through in the cream?

  139. Andi Michelsen

    I made this tonight. The pork was surprisingly moist, even after time in the oven waiting for the potatoes. Next time I’d squeeze a little over the pork. The smashed potatoes were delicious—I am not a goat cheese fan, went to the store to get farmers cheese to sub, ended up with creme fraiche by mistake. Pretty indulgent. I would sure make this again.

  140. Meredith Sterling

    Can you do this with a ham steak? I’m sheltering-in-place but picking up a farmer’s market curbside order this weekend (YAY!!!) that will include a ham steak. Pretty sure, since it’s local ‘heritage’ pork, it’s not cured like regular ham so will taste much like pork chops?? Would this work for that?

  141. Monica

    I see someone else recently asked about alternative meats. Would the technique work for cube steaks, like a chicken-fried steak situation? Would the buttermilk marinade work with beef?

  142. Zainab

    Made this for dinner today! It was delicious and perfect for an excellent, hearty meal that wasn’t too hands on.
    I did make a few changes after reading that it could have been seasoned a bit better. I added in some Tabasco, salt/pepper to the buttermilk marinade, and further seasoned the cornmeal mixture with garlic and onion powder, cayenne, paprika and it was seasoned perfectly and very flavorful. Next time, I would season the chops with salt and pepper before placing in the buttermilk marinade. I also had to use a pan to flatten the chops as I don’t own a meat pounder (lol) and I definitely did not get them to 1/8th inch thick. I didn’t find that this impacted the taste significantly though they were not as picture perfect as Deb’s. They did take more than 4 minutes per side to cook for sure.
    The potatoes I made mostly as is (after halving the recipe) and they’re the best smashed/mashed potato recipe I’ve ever had TBH. I used a garlic herb chèvre from the local supermarket for some extra flavor and it was delicious! 10/10 will make again even without the chops.

  143. Dennis

    I’m hoping this is not inappropriate for a food column, featuring wonderful, practical recipes, but I truly appreciate your writing. It is so much more literate and cleverly descriptive than other blogs, that I enjoy reading your recipes and commentary even if I am not interested in trying them. Even better when I like them!

  144. Adrianne Mock

    I made this tonight.
    Oh, my gosh this is AWESOME!!
    EASY to make, the pork chops are AMAZING this way and the potatoes.
    Indescribably DELICIOUS!!
    this is going in the keeper file!
    Thank you