Recipe idea: Pork chops and gravy

Having the most frugal grocery budget in the world isn’t going to help you and if you can’t put together at least a few healthy, tasty, and cheap eats! Every month, The Outlier Model features a cheap recipe idea, along with the cost breakdown.
This is an easy weekday dinner that you can easily pair with whatever seasonal vegetables are available.  No marinade or meat prep is required!

Photo credit: dbgg1979 via Flickr

Ingredients:

  • 4 quick fry pork “chops” (~$2 – I buy large shoulder or butt cuts and then slice them into boneless chops)
  • salt and pepper to taste (< $0.05)
  • 2 slices of bacon, pancetta ($1)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced ($0.25)
  • 1 bottle dark German-style beer ($2)
  • 1 tbsp flour ($0.05)
  • 1/2 cup stock (free!)
  • parsley, chopped ($0.59)

Season the chops with salt and pepper.  Heat a pan on medium-high with oil.  You can tell when oil is hot by flicking a tiny bit of water onto the pan.  If it sizzles, you’re good to go.   Add the pork chops to the pan.  Brown on both sides, turning once until the meat is firm.  This should take 10-12 minutes in total.  Then, place the chops on a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, heat up a bit more oil and then add the bacon or pancetta.  Brown for 3-4 minutes, then toss in the onions.  Saute this mixture for another 6-7 minutes.  Add the flour and beer while stirring.  Cook this mixture until about half of the liquid has boiled off, then add the stock.  Let this thicken, adding more flour if necessary until the desired consistency is reached.  I tend for a thinner gravy, but it’s up to you!

Once it’s done, remove the gravy from the heat and drizzle over the pork chops.  Finish with a sprinkle of gravy on top.  Yum!

Servings: 4

Cost per serving: $1.50 per chop.  After adding a bit of veggie and starch, your cost is about $2 per serving, maybe $2.50 if you’re being extravagant.

Possible combinations:

  • Lightly roasted potatoes and carrots
  • Roasted red pepper and asparagus with a bun
  • Rice with steamed greens

Frugal hack: The two most expensive parts of this recipe are the bacon and the German beer.  You can easily leave out the beer and substitute more stock, and/or leave out the bacon and add mushrooms or herbs instead.

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