Today was such a lovely day.
I know Spring doesn’t technically start until Sunday, but today was a nice taste of what’s to come!
Although the weather definitely affects the way I cook, that is, using seasonal ingredients and such, I try not to limit myself to certain methods of cooking to certain times of the year. I’ve grilled in the winter, (granted – it was in my icy cold garage – WORTH IT!) and I will pull out my slow cooker for way more than the standard stews that usually come out of it. Prime example: pork chops!
It has taken years for me to truly come to appreciate the gloriousness of the pig. Growing up, I always thought they were cute …
But anywho, I could never really separate the animal from the food. Cows, no problem. Chickens look funny. I’ve just always loved pigs. Then, of course those of you near and dear to me recall my almost-vegetarian-but-not-quite-health-nut-I-don’t-eat-bacon-or-anything-that-comes-from-a-pig phase when I first started college.
It was one recipe that changed my mind about bacon and, as a result, the whole pig in general: Coq au Vin.
If there is one thing I am a stickler for it’s tradition, and Coq au Vin is a very traditional French peasant dish that is cooked in bacon fat and topped with crispy bacon lardons (a.k.a fancy strips). When I decided to make it for the first time, I decided to overcome my bacon prejudice. It was either go big or go home -and ladies and gentleman – I always go big.
And then… there were pork chops. Sometimes, I blame my parents affinity for Shake n’ Bake growing up for my original distaste towards them, but these days, my pallet for pork is ever expanding, and I decided to give them a whirl this past fall. The following recipe is one I came up with in a pinch when the only produce I had on hand was an apple and an onion. I liked it so much, that I whipped it up again this week!
Slow Cooker Apple-Onion Pork Chops
- 4 lean pork chops
- 1 large apple, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion (I prefer red, but whatever you have works!)
- 1 (heaping) tablespoon dried rosemary
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried sage
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (+ 1 cup optional for gravy)
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter, divided (optional for gravy)
- 1 tablespoon flour (optional for gravy)
Begin by melting 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper. Place pork in the hot skillet and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes a side. (Note: Pork will not be cooked all the way through in the pan. You can skip this step if you’d like, but it results in a much richer flavor.) Remove from pan and set aside.
Spread half of the onions and apples on the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with browned pork chops. Add the remaining onions and apples, chicken broth, and worcestershire. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
(Optional)When it’s just about time to eat, remove 3/4 of the liquid from the slow cooker. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until combined a a paste (or roux) has formed. Add the hot liquid and whisk vigorously until combined and any lumps are removed. Add the remaining cup of chicken broth and whisk until combined. YOU JUST MADE GRAVY! GOOD WORK! Now sit down and enjoy your pig – erm – porkchops. Perhaps with some rosemary potatoes and green beans like me.