Friday, August 12, 2011

Smothered Pork Chops and Cauliflower

I've missed posting recipes the past few weeks - we've been busy so I just haven't taken time to get pictures or to get things typed up.  Plus, I kinda went through a dry spell and really didn't have anything I wanted to post.  The past week or so, we've had some good food so I'm back in my groove again :-)

Last night I made Smothered Pork Chops with Mashed Potatoes and Curried Cauliflower Popcorn and my husbands words were "You should open a restaurant because you make some awesome dinners".  With words like that,  I think this is something I'll be making again LOL

Smothered Pork Chops
(adapted from Mels Kitchen Cafe)

 Now, I'm the first one to admit that this recipe as more steps that I like for Crock pot recipes - especially the prep work BUT it is well worth it when you taste the final product.

*Note: If the gravy in the last step doesn’t thicken well, mix another tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 tablespoons cold water and add it to the hot liquid. Let it come to a boil to ensure it thickens properly.

*Serves 6

5 slices bacon, chopped
6 bone-in pork loin chops, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and Pepper
2 yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch thick half moons
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet over medium heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels, leaving the drippings in the pan. If you have more than 2 tablespoons drippings, drain the excess. If you don’t have quite that much, supplement with canola oil. When the bacon is cool, transfer to a small bag or tupperware and refrigerate until later.

Heat the skillet with the drippings over medium or medium-high heat until rippling and hot.
Meanwhile, pat pork chops dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook pork chops until they are golden brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side, cooking them in batches in the skillet if your skillet isn’t big enough to hold all six at a time in a single layer. When golden on each side, transfer the chops to the slow cooker and repeat with remaining pork.
Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet; add onions, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water to empty skillet. Using a wooden spoon, scrape browned bits from bottom of the pan and cook over medium-high heat until onions are soft, about 4-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour onion mixture over chops in the slow cooker. Add broth, soy sauce and remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar to skillet, bring to a boil and add bay leaves.
Pour mixture over onions in slow cooker.

Cover slow cooker and cook on low until pork is tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 hours).
When ready to serve, carefully transfer chops to serving platter with a large spoon and tent with foil. Discard bay leaves and pour liquid through a mesh strainer into a saucepan, reserving the solids. Transfer solids to a food processor or blender with 1 cup liquid and blend until smooth. Stir the blended mixture back into remaining liquid in the saucepan. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons water together in a small bowl and stir into sauce. Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, season with salt and pepper, pour over chops and sprinkle with reserved bacon and parsley. Serve

A couple of things I did differently - I did not have any thyme (there is a joke there . . .).  It still tasted fine but hopefully next time I'll remember to pick up that spice.  I also did not heat up the liquid before pouring it over the pork.  This was an over site on my part but it didn't seem to impact the flavor.  Finally, I left all of the liquid in the crockpot and just used my immersion blender to blend everything together first, than poured it into a large skillet to bring it to a boil with the cornstarch.  I served the gravy over the meat and put the rest on the table for the potatoes.

Over the past few months, I've been searching for really good veggie recipes.  I get really tired of just opening a can or frozen bag of corn, green beans, ect.  I'm my search of something good for Cauliflower, I came across this recipe for Curried Cauliflower Popcorn and it is SOOOO good!  It takes the really strong flavor out of the cauliflower and makes it taste really good!

Curried Cauliflower "Popcorn"
(adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)

*Serves 4-6
1 medium head cauliflower
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
Wash and core the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt and curry powder.
Turn out the cauliflower onto a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, stirring every 6-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is browned in spots and is crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

* So I did one HUGE thing different in this recipe . . .I didn't use curry powder :-)  Darryl and I are not fans of that flavor AT ALL so I just used Nature's Seasoning instead.  Also, on a side note, I used a good size head of cauliflower and there is no way it would have served 4 people - we ate the whole thing easily.  If you are serving this to a lot of people, I would get 2 heads, at least. 


Shannon said...

Mmmm....sounds good! I'll def. have to try the cauliflower. I'm *trying* to do better about cooking veggies!

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