Smothered Pork Chops With Rice

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

1 ½ cups uncooked long-grain white rice

1 Tbsp., plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 ½ tsp. black pepper, divided

4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops (about 12 oz. each)

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 medium-size sweet onion, thinly sliced (about 2 1/4 cups)

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 2 tsp.)

¼ cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups beef stock

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. Creole mustard

½ cup heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add rice; cook, stirring often, until shiny and starting to toast and sizzle, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil over medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt; reduce to a simmer over medium-low. Cover and simmer, undisturbed, 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Uncover; fluff rice with a fork. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the butter until melted. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

While rice cooks, stir together smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, 2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Pat pork chops dry with paper towels; sprinkle both sides evenly with smoked paprika mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Carefully add pork chops to skillet; cook, undisturbed, until browned on bottom, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip pork chops; cook until browned on other side, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, lift each pork chop from skillet, and sear around the sides of chops until golden brown, about 1 minute per chop. Return chops to lie flat in skillet, and cook, flipping every 2 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into center of each chop registers 140°F, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate, and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, wipe skillet clean (some bits can remain). Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil to skillet; heat over medium until butter is melted. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring often, until onion is golden brown and softened, 8 to 10 minutes. (If some of the onion starts to burn before all is caramelized, add a splash of water to skillet.) Sprinkle evenly with flour; cook, stirring constantly, until flour starts to turn golden and smell nutty, about 1 minute. Stir in stock; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire, mustard, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low; stir in cream.

Nestle pork chops in gravy mixture in skillet, and spoon some gravy over chops. Remove from heat. Pile rice evenly on 4 plates, and place 1 pork chop over rice on each plate. Spoon 1/2 cup gravy on and around each chop. Sprinkle evenly with thyme. Serve immediately.

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