pork chops loco moco

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I feel a little guilty when Dave and I spend most of the weekend sleeping in, watching football, reading books, and, in my case, cooking. We are booooring.

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But then I figure that someday, if everything goes as planned, we’ll have kids and then we won’t be able to spend all weekend being lazy. I don’t think I’ll be cooking from Cooks Illustrated’s Restaurant Favorites at Home very often when we have kids, which is a shame, because it’s a fun cookbook and I haven’t used it as much as I should. I better take advantage while I can.

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Although really, this meal didn’t take nearly as long to prepare as I thought it would based on the length of the recipe. It’s true that there are five parts – rice, pork chops, scrambled eggs, mushroom gravy, and fried onions. Fortunately, the rice, meat and eggs are as simple as they could get, and the sauce is pretty quick as well. That means that only the onions take some time.

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Loco moco is a Hawaiian dish that, as its most basic, is rice, a hamburger patty, gravy, and a fried egg. For their cookbook, Cooks Illustrated adapted the recipe from Sam Choy’s, who replace the hamburger with a pork chop, the fried egg with scrambled, and the brown gravy with a mushroom cream sauce, in addition to adding the fried onions.

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Hoo boy, I like this kind of meal anyway, where a bunch of different stuff all meshes together, but this in particular was fantastic. So many textures – the meat, the rice, soft eggs, crunchy onions. So many flavors – nutty white rice, sweet fried onions, savory pork, all coated in a rich mushroom sauce. Even if it had taken most of a day to make, which it didn’t, it would have been worth it. Especially since I would have just been lounging around in my pajamas anyway.

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One year ago: Pumpkin Pancakes

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Pork Chops with Rice, Eggs, Onions, and Gravy
(from Cooks Illustrated’s Restaurant Favorites at Home)

This is the recipe straight from the cookbook. However, next time I plan to use a boneless pork chop. I think it will brown better in the pan, plus it was a little hard to see where the bone was versus the meat once the pork was covered in sauce and other goodies.

Also, I think it makes more sense to cook the pork chop before the eggs. And, in step 3, I don’t see why you’d want to dirty an extra dish by transferring the sauce to a measuring cup; just cover the pan you cooked it in. Finally, the recipe calls for both the eggs and the pork chops to be cooked on high heat, but I’ve had better luck with medium-high heat for both.

Fried Onions:
3 cups vegetable oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ tablespoon ground black pepper
1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced thin

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
salt and ground black pepper

4 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
pinch ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Pork chops:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 thin bone-in center-cut loin pork chops, about ½ inch thick
salt and ground black pepper

1. For the fried onions: Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it reached 350 degrees. (Use an instant-read thermometer that registers high temperatures or clip a candy/deep-fat thermometer onto the side of the pan before turning on the heat.) Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the onion to the flour mixture and toss thoroughly to coat. Transfer the floured onion to a large strainer (or colander) set over another bowl (or the sink) and shake vigorously to remove the excess flour. Add the onion to the oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 2½ minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the cooking temperature. Remove the onion from the oil using a spider or slotted spoon, tapping the handle several times on the rim of the pot to drain any excess oil, then transfer to a large plate lined with several layers of paper towels. Set aside.

2. For the rice: Heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, until transparent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1½ cups water and the salt. Bring to a boil, swirling the pan to blend the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover the pan with a clean dish towel and then the lid. Let the rice stand, covered, to finish cooking, about 15 minutes longer. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

3. For the sauce: Mix the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon water together in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Stir in the shiitakes, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the mushrooms release their moisture and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream, soy sauce, and oyster sauce, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture and return to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the sauce to a liquid measuring cup, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside.

4. For the eggs: Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and add the milk, salt and pepper. Beat with a fork until the streaks are gone and the color is pure yellow; stop beating while the bubbles are still large. Melt the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until foaming, swirling it around and up the sides of the pan. Before the form completely subsides, pour in the beaten eggs. Using a heatproof spatula, push the eggs from one side of the pan to the other, slowly but deliberately lifting and folding the eggs as they form curds, until the eggs are nicely clumped into a single mound but remain shiny and set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover to keep warm.

5. For the pork chops: Wipe the nonstick skillet clean with a wad of paper towels. Add the vegetable oil and heat over high heat until smoking. Season the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Lay the pork chops in a single layer in the skillet and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until lightly brown and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

6. To serve: Divide the rice among 4 individual plates. Lay a pork chop on top of the rice and top with equal portions of scrambled eggs. Pour about 3 tablespoons of the sauce over the egg and pork on each plate, and sprinkle with the fried onions. Serve immediately.


  1. This is an interesting mix of flavors/textures/items! Sometimes those are the best recipes though 😉 We were totally lazy this weekend as well! We try to take and enjoy that time while we can (we don’t have kids yet either). =) It’s good for you to be “boring” 😉 I will have to check out this cookbook too!

  2. Holy Yum! My husband isn’t a pork chop fan, so if/when I make this we might go the old route of hamburger patty, but yum! Seriously!
    Also..enjoy those lazy weekends as long as possible! Not that having kids isn’t great, but seriously…lounge as much as you can now!

  3. bridget says:

    Suzy – My husband had just a root canal when I made this, so I actually made his without any meat at all, and he still really enjoyed it, so that’s another option.

  4. Beautiful blog – and loco moco, no less. Had it in Hawaii, feeling inspired by your fanci-fying it!
    Thanks to NaBloPoMo for bringing me to your site!

  5. This looks fabulous! It’s definitely something we would love 🙂

  6. Wow this looks great! I like the use of a pork chop instead of a hamburger patty. I love the fried onions too…yum!

  7. Oh wow! This looks sooooo good.
    Good for you for being smart enough to enjoy the boring couple time you have. It’s such precious time that you’ll certainly miss when you’ve got the rugrats running around!

  8. Mmm… fried onions… And really, the bf and I are pretty boring as well – he sits and plays video games or watches tv, we go on walks, and I bake a lot. It makes me happy though 🙂

  9. That looks like the best homemade loco moco I’ve ever seen! I think it’s the fried onions that make it!

  10. This is such an interesting combination yet it looks so good! I hope to try this one day soon.