Thursday, March 14, 2013

On Spice Mixes & Crock Pots & Pork Chops

I don't know about you, but I've noticed that the newer crock-pots are a lot hotter than the older ones.  Looks like the FDA came in and set some sort of minimum heat level guidelines, and so the manufacturers had to respond.  Now, I'm not complaining, but if you just bought a new crock-pot, be aware that it will cook faster than your old one.  Not that it's fast, but still.  Anyway.

I have long loved the spice mixes you can get from Penzey's Spices, and one of my favorites is the Pork Chop Seasoning.  I love Penzey's because they don't put junk in their spice mixes, and this pork chop seasoning is no exception.  The description (which matches the label) lists the following: fine salt, hickory smoke, garlic, onion, white pepper and ginger as the ingredients. They have single spices and herbs, the seasonings like the one above, and a variety of speciality & salt-free seasonings too.

All this to get to the main point of this post - a super easy/ super lazy way to make some really good pork chops in the crock-pot.

    1 pork chop per person (Ok, 2 for the teen-ager if the pork chops are small). I used frozen boneless pork chops.
    Penzey's Pork Chop seasoning
    1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce per pork chop
    1/2 stick of cinnamon (maybe a bigger piece if you have more than 6 chops)
    4 or 5 whole cloves (easier to find and dig out)

The quick version: 
    Sprinkle the pork chops with the seasoning then layer them with applesauce in the crock-pot.  Add some cinnamon stick and whole cloves and let simmer on low until done and tender.

  1.  Sprinkle the pork chops with the Pork Chop Seasoning and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Hunt for the applesauce (last time I used two of the single-serve cups), cinnamon, and cloves, and get out the crock-pot.  Use a crock pot that will be at least 3/4 full when you put the pork in. (I use a 1.5 qt crock-pot which fits two thick boneless pork chops very nicely)
  3. Put the first pork chop flat on the bottom of the crock pot, and pour the 1/3 cup of applesauce over it.
  4. Set the next pork chop on top of the applesauce on the previous pork chop, and continue until you have layered all the chops with the applesauce.  The applesauce should cover over the top of the last pork chop.
  5. Break the cinnamon stick in half and place it in the applesauce that has come out from between the chops.
  6. Sprinkle the cloves over the top of everything.
  7. Plug in the crock-pot and set on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours.  The meat should have an internal temperature of 165ºF, and be very, very tender.
  8. Carefully take the pork chops out of the crock pot, then scoop the applesauce out and serve over the chops.  
That's it! Enjoy.