Alton Brown’s recipes are always among my favorites. He seems to take the time to make sure everything is going to be cooked just right so that you get the best taste and flavor out of your dish. This was particularly true of the dinner I made last night that uses his recipe for slow cooker pepper pork chops. Granted, part of the dish is actually made on the stove top before it makes its way over to the slow cooker, but this helps you to get great browning for the pork chops and onions before they go into the slow cooker to get that falling-off-the-bone flavor and texture to them. There is some prep work that needs to go into this one beforehand, which includes brining the pork chops for 24 hours, but it is well worth the effort.
Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 pound ice
4 (1 to 1 1/2-inch thick) bone-in pork chops
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup dried apple slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, julienned
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup of kosher salt, brown sugar and the crushed peppercorns in a medium saucepan and set it over medium-high heat. Cook just until the salt and sugar have dissolved then remove the mixture from the heat and add the ice to the saucepan. Place the pork chops in a large zip-top plastic bag along with the mixture and seal the bag. Place the bag in a plastic container and refrigerate the pork chops overnight.
Remove the chops from the brine, rinse and pat them dry. Season both sides of the chops with kosher salt and set them aside.
Place the apple slices in the slow cooker. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the pork chops on both sides until they are golden brown, about 5 to 6 minutes per side. Once they are browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker on top of the apple slices.
Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the saute pan followed by the onions ans saute the onions until the begin to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and the dried thyme and stir the mixture to combine. Transfer the entire mixture to the slow cooker, set the slow cooker to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 1/2 hours or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone. Serve.
The brine really helps to add some great flavor to the pork. If you aren’t a big fan of pepper, you might want to skip this one because the pepper flavor from the brine certainly permeates the pork well. I thought it had fantastic flavor and loved the taste of the pepper with the onions and apples. I served this with some simple white rice and I also made a mashed butternut squash, which was a great side dish for the pork and one that you can easily use as a side dish for your Thanksgiving plans. I’ll be posting the recipe for that dish tomorrow.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for more recipes. I am working on a lot of things, including a bunch of dishes that are perfect for Thanksgiving that I will be highlighting throughout the month of November. Michelle’s birthday is at the end of this coming week, so we’ll be doing some Thanksgiving dishes for her birthday since I am not cooking at home this holiday. I’ll also be trying my hand at her birthday cake this year, so we’ll see how that turns out as well. Keep checking to see what is next. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!