Nanny's Pork Chop Casserole

Sara Hollier

1 cup rice

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

2 ½ cups beef consommé

1 pound bone-in pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

When I married my husband, my in-laws weren’t the only thing I inherited. My mother-in-law, who is a native Texan, brought her tastes and combined them with traditional Appalachian flavors over 30 years ago. This recipe began as a simple rice dish from Puerto Rico and was adapted to fit mountain tastes.

My husband’s grandfather was an engineer for Gulf Oil in the 1950s and ’60s. During the time his children were in grade school he was sent to work on the plant in Puerto Rico for several years. My mother-in-law and her siblings were sent to school in Latin America. The recipe was given to their mother by a Puerto Rican woman whose family had eaten the dish for many years. It began as a simple rice dish, with no meat and no green peppers, and it called for mushrooms. With a little bit of rice going a long way, it was a perfect dish for Latin American families who had little income and a large number of people to feed.

The pork chops weren’t added until the late 1970s when my in-laws moved to Erwin, Tennessee. My mother-in-law needed a casserole for a church dinner, but the dishes she knew were either too spicy or not fried enough for the local taste. That’s when she had the idea to add the pork chops and bake them instead of frying them. She also added the green peppers and omitted the mushrooms, since no one in her family had much of a taste for mushrooms.

This casserole used to be saved mainly for holidays and family get-togethers. Today we enjoy more regularly. 

Brown rice and vegetables in oil. Add rice mixture and beef consommé to a pot and bring to a boil. Add rice mixture to a greased baking dish, and add pork chops on top of rice. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until pork chops are done. Uncover dish and take excess sauce from the pan and discard. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until pork chops are browned.