Thursday, October 17, 2013

Smothered 'Chops: A Fall Delight

Good evening everyone! The cool fall weather we were all expecting has certainly descended upon the Iowa area. Our high temperatures barely break into the 50's and the nights are downright cold. Last night, I noticed I could see my breath while stepping outside. There's no surer sign of fall weather than being able to see one's breath!

While we've already been dabbling with a fall menu, the cooler weather has motivated us to start cooking even more fall friednly dishes. The slow cooker is about to get a workout - because many fall treats involve this easy to use kitchen gadget. Tonight's recipe uses the slow cooker to create perfectly succulent pork chops and a flavorful gravy.

The Recipe: Slow-Cooker Smothered Pork Chops
Original Recipe Found In: America's Test Kitchen - Cooking for Two

What You'll Need:
(Serves 2)

2 X 7 Ounce Pork Chops
2 Slices Bacon (Chopped)
1 Large Onion (Diced)
2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
1/4 TEaspoon Dried Thyme
7 1/2 Teaspoons All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley
1 1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Begin by browning your bacon in a large non stick skillet. Once browned, remove the bacon and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Chop the bacon into pieces once it cools slightly.

Without cleaning the skillet, add the onion and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onion turns golden brown. Add in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir the flour slowly to prevent clumps from forming. All the flour mixture to cook for 1 minute before slowly whisking in the broth.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the soy sauce and brown sugar.

Spray a slow cooker with non stick cooking spray and place the two pork chops in the bottom of the cooker. Slowly pour the sauce mixture from the skillet over the chops and set the slow cooker to low. Allow it to cook for 7 to 8 hours. If you're in a hurry, set the cooker to high and the cooking time is reduced to 3 to 4 hours.

Before serving, transfer the chops to a plate and tent them with foil. Allow the sauce to settle (off heat) for 5 minutes, or until the fat in the liquid rises to the surface. Skim off the fat and then stir in the bacon bits and the apple cider vinegar. Take stock of your sauce at this point as well - if it's too runny or thin, add another teaspoon of flour until the mixture reaches the right consistency.

Serve the sauce over the pork chops with a sprinkling of fresh parsley and enjoy!

The Results:

I've never made a pork chop in a slow cooker before and am happy to report that the results were fantastic. Much like any other form of meat that spends all day stewing in its own juices, the pork chop essentially fell apart coming out of the slow cooker and was predictably tender and moist. The gravy was a nice surprise as well - it was rich and creamy and full of nice subtle flavors that blended well with the chops. At just over 270 calories per serving, this is a warm, filling fall meal that's sure to please even those on a strict diet.

That's all we have for you this week. We've got a busy weekend ahead of us, so there won't be any posts hitting the blog until next Monday. Enjoy your weekend and, until next time,


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