My family always made use of the local meat locker, a place where you could store large cuts of meat and have the on-site butchers cut the meat. I remember being surprised when my mom asked the butcher to cut her some 1″-thick pork chops “from the butt.” Mom had been teaching me how to cook since I was very young, so I was pretty sure I knew where chops came from, and it wasn’t the butt. She told me that for some reason she “couldn’t explain,” the shoulder was called the butt.

When you look at a shoulder chop with its crisscrossed bones, you might wonder how you’ll ever eat it. But follow this recipe: The results are amazing, as rich and deeply comforting a braised dish as you might hope to eat, meat literally smothered with gravy and onions. Onions are key, and while some recipes for smothered pork chops and chicken include bell peppers, mushrooms, and perhaps some other ingredients, there are always onions. If I were a pork chop and had to choose a way to go, I would choose smothering! Serve with Collard Greens.

Serves 4



4 shoulder pork chops, each about 1″ thick, trimmed (about 1 pound)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour2 tablespoons grape seed or canola oil.
2 yellow onions, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4″ slices
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Slivered parsley leaves for garnish



  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Season each chop with the salt, if using, and black pepper.
  3. Pour 1 tablespoon of the flour onto a plate. Dip each chop into the flour and shake off the excess.
  4. Heat the oil in a heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Put the pork chops in the skillet. Cook until they are well browned, about 4 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside.
  6. Add the onions and bell peppers to the skillet.
  7. Increase the heat to medium-high.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are brown. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  9. Gradually stir in the broth. Cook and stir until the sauce is slightly thickened and smooth.
  10. Bury the chops in the gravy. Cover the skillet and transfer to the oven.
  11. Cook for 2 hours, or until the pork is tender.
  12. To serve, divide the pork chops among 4 plates and spoon gravy over each serving.
  13. Garnish with the herbs.


Photo Courtesy of Andre Baranowski.  Baranowski is a NY based food photographer and was the principal photographer for Michel Nischan’s cookbook – Sustainably Delicious.