Until recently, I didn’t have a lot of respect for paprika. My mother only seemed to use it when a dish needed “a little bit of color” and then she would sprinkle it on whatever (usually deviled eggs), and it looked nice and didn’t really have any flavor that I could tell. And once upon a long time ago, I had to go to Budapest on a business trip — where everybody talked about paprika and it was everywhere to buy. So I was all set to become an enthusiast. I brought back 4 cans of the spice, 2 sweet and 2 hot, all set to try recipes using the “really good stuff.” Then, literally the morning after I got back from my trip, my husband read an article in the paper about some blight on the paprika harvest—advising everyone to throw away their Hungarian paprika (note: this really was a long time ago—everything is fine now—I don’t want to be sued by Hungary for asking people to throw out their paprika….) And so I forgot all about paprika for a long time.
And then, a few months ago, I was thinking about pork chops and lamenting how they never turned out tender enough for my taste—and I came across a way to make them that after trying and tweaking a few times–has solved the tenderness problem, is easy, can be make-ahead, and is very nice to look at—using paprika. What more do I want from a recipe? Nothing much–and now I have a lot of respect for paprika.
Braised Pork Chops in Paprika Sauce
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 and 1/2 hours
Total: Almost 2 hours
4 Pork Chops, 1-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Flour to coat the pork chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium or 1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup sour cream
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Sprinkle the pork chops with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour to coat them lightly on both sides. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet or a Dutch oven with a lid. Add the pork chops to the pan and cook them for 3 or 4 minutes per side until nicely browned. Transfer the chops to a platter.
Add the onions to the oil and cook them for about 8 to 10 minutes or until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic to the pan and cook another 30 seconds. Move the pan off the heat and add the paprika, stirring until the onions are well coated. Return the pan to the heat, pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Return the pork chops to the pan, cover, place in the oven and cook for one hour. Test the chops with a fork—they should be tender. Remove the chops from the pan to a platter or individual serving plates. Put the pan back on low heat on the stovetop and stir in the heavy cream and the sour cream. Simmer for another minute or two while stirring until the creams are incorporated. Pour some of the sauce over each pork chop, and serve the remainder separately. The sauce is so tasty that you may want to serve this with mashed potatoes, good crusty bread or noodles—and steamed broccoli is a good vegetable accompaniment.