This Smothered Pork Chops Recipe is a hearty midwestern comfort dish. It’s layered with vegetables and meaty pork chops smothered in a creamy sauce and cheese. This is definitely a stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish, but it’s got plenty of carrots and kale that balance it out. The pork chops are left whole so that you get an entire portion dripping in goodness. This is really great for those that prefer to be able to cut their meat, vs. scoop it.
For a more traditional casserole, check these recipes:
- Cheesy Sausage Broccoli & Rice Casserole
- White Enchilada Casserole with Chicken & Veggies or
- more traditional red sauce Chicken & Chorizo Enchilada Casserole.
Family Comfort Recipes Carry On
I recently received my Mom’s recipe box and books that had been passed down to her from my grandmothers and that she had collected over the years. These are handwritten recipes, some so old that are turning yellow-ish-brown, and they nearly all have oil and food stains on them from lovingly being used so many times over the years. My family is from the midwest so most of the recipes are wonderful comfort dishes that warm the soul.
One of my favorites is this amazing Apple Cinnamon Cake I grew up with that my Mom passed to me and my girls to make for Talking Meals last year. There are so many recipes that I want to make for you now!
But this Pork Chop Casserole really jumped out at me. It reminded me of my Mom’s love for comforting casseroles. It’s also a great idea for busy Moms looking for easy weeknight family meals.
My Mom’s recipe called for “green veggies”. I couldn’t remember exactly what she used. Although, I assume it was probably green beans as that was a go-to veggie for her in our house. For my Smothered Pork Chops Recipe, I decided to use Kale. I just adore Kale and felt it could hold up pretty well in this casserole. The recipe also did not specify what type of cheese, so I selected Gruyere which has a nutty delicious flavor to it and goes beautifully with the pork. You could also use Mozzarella instead. I also swapped out the flour for cornstarch, which is used to thicken the sauce. This swap helped me to keep this recipe Gluten Free.
So, let’s get cooking!
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PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS RECIPE
You are busy, so these are the steps you can do a day or two in advance to prepare food ahead! (See the recipe below for more details)
Many casseroles can be completely cooked ahead and then reheated. However, I don’t recommend that for this Smothered Pork Chops Recipe. The pork can become overcooked and tough. Instead, you can prepare all of the ingredients ahead, so you simply put it all together and then cook it. (I have notes in the recipe for preparing everything in the casserole dish and then cooking it on the night you are ready to. However, this will increase the cooking time and the entire dish cooks better if you sear and then bake all on the same night).
In terms of the prep, you can slice the carrots, dice the Onion, and mince Garlic.
Rinse, pat dry, then roughly chop the Kale. You will need roughly 9-10 cups to cook down to enough for 4 servings. It will look like a TON, but trust me, it will cook down.
COOK YOUR SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS RECIPE
For this casserole, you separately cook the kale, pork chops, and sauce in one large Skillet on the stove. Transfer each as they finish to a 9×9 Casserole dish for the oven.
First you sauté the kale by filling the pan and letting it cook down, then adding more and repeating this until all of the kale is cooked down. Then transfer it to the bottom layer of the casserole dish.
Next you season and sear the pork chops on each side. Then place them on top of the kale in the dish.
Finally, add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the hot skillet and stir while cooking.
Add the chicken broth and then the cornstarch slurry and stir until the sauce thickens.
Then pour the sauce all over the pork chops. Top with shredded gruyere and bake in 350 F degree oven for 40 minutes until the pork is cooked through to 165F internal temperature.
I like to serve this over Quinoa, but you can serve it over rice or potatoes too.
Pork Chop Casserole
- 2 cups Carrots, sliced
- 1 cup Onion, diced
- 1 clove Garlic, Minced
- 10 cups Kale, chopped
Cooking Pork Chops
- 4 Pork Chops, boneless 1" thick
- 1 Tbls Salt (enough to sprinkle on pork)
- 1 Tbls Fresh Ground Pepper (enough to sprinkle on pork)
- 4 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (2 tsp for Kale, 2 tsp for pork)
Sauce and Casserole
- 2 Tbls Corn Starch
- 1/4 cup Milk (Skim, 1% or 2% are all fine)
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 8 oz Gruyere, finely shredded
- Salt, to taste
- Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste
Prep Ahead - Vegetables
Peel and slice Carrots into quarter size disks. If the carrot diameter is larger, just cut slices in half.
Dice Onion. Mince Garlic.
Rince, pat dry, then roughly chop the Kale. You will need roughly 9-10 cups to cook down to enough for 4 servings. It will look like a TON, but trust me, it will cook down.
Make your Casserole
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Preheat a medium-large skillet (large enough to fit 4 pork chops) on high. Add 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the skillet to coat. Then add the Kale in batches until it is all cooked down. Turn the kale so that it all gets access to heat and starts to cook down. Add a couple tablespoons of water to help it wilt if needed with each additional batch of kale, but just make sure that the liquid cooks off.
Once all kale is cooked, transfer it from the skillet to a 9x9 casserole dish.
Season the pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides liberally. Make the sure the skillet is back on high heat and add another 2 tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the skillet to coat and then add the pork chops to sear. Leave cooking without moving for 4-5 minutes. When they easily lift, flip the chops over to sear the other side for another 4 minutes.
Transfer the pork chops to the casserole dish laying them directly on top of the Kale in a single layer.
To the same pan with the pork chop drippings, add the onion, the minced garlic, and the carrots. Stir and cook for 5-8 minutes until the carrots are starting to soften and the onions are getting translucent.
While the veggies are cooking, make the cornstarch slurry by adding 2 tbls of cornstarch to 1/4 cup cold milk in a small mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve.
Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the carrots, onions, and garlic while keeping the heat on high. Stir to combine.
Add the cornstarch slurry to the broth and veggies and whisk it in as it comes up to a simmer and begins to thicken.
Once thickened, pour the sauce and veggies over the pork chops in the casserole dish. Spread the carrots and sauce around evenly.
Final step! Sprink the top of all this goodness with CHEESE! I prefer the finely shredded Gruyere as I think it is just delicious with Pork in this dish and it melts so nicely.
NOW, at this point, you can store the uncooked casserole in the fridge and cook when you are ready to eat it. If you do this, you need to Bake it in a 350 degree F oven for about 5-10 minutes longer (total 35-40min) covered or until the pork reaches 165 internal temp. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes so that the cheese can brown on top.
If you Bake the casserole immediately, then bake it in a 350 degree oven covered for 30 minutes. Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes so that the cheese can brown on top. You can even turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes at the very end to really brown the top.
Serve over rice, quinoa, or potatoes and enjoy!
- I have said that there are 4 servings in this recipe, because there are 4 pork chops. However, if you split these in half for kids, you can easily get 5-6 servings.
- If you cannot find Gruyere Cheese, you can substitute Mozzarella.