I know, I know this entry is way overdue considering that I made these awesome, succulent Slow Cooker Pepper Pork Chops for Father’s Day….2 months ago. Yikes. But better late than never I really wanted to share my experience making these. Every year, we usually just take my dad out for a nice dinner, but this year I decided to put a little bit more effort in it and cook Father’s Day dinner. I even research the wine pairing for it.
I love that this recipe from Food Network came with a video (with an slightly-eccentric Alton Brown) because it was a very lengthy process- but so worth the results. And it’s one of those recipes you really have to plan ahead for, definitely not the kind that you can just “throw together”.
Freshly crushed peppercorns brings the strongly spiced flavor to the pork but will be balanced out by the other ingredients. It will so NOT fun trying to find something to crush these, they kept flying away in every direction.
Making the brine was pretty intimidating – all that salt and sugar! Heat up the vegetable broth, brown sugar, kosher salt, and peppercorns until the salt and sugar has dissolved. I found out how important it was to have specifically kosher salt. You can not just simply replace kosher salt with regular salt because it will get too salty. Remove it from heat and add ice.
Good thing my gut told me that my mom’s kitchen was not going to have 2 gallon zip lock bags or else it would have been a midnight run to the grocery store. I wrote the time when I should take them out of the fridge. Refrigerate overnight.
My priority the next morning was taking the pork chops out of the brine, rinse the salt off really well and pat dry. The recipe said to season again with salt, but I skipped that because I read comments that it was really unnecessary.
Heat up a pan at medium-high heat and panfry the chops until both sides are nice and brown. Feel free to inhale and let your mouth water. You don’t need to make sure it’s cooked thoroughly, just about 5-6 minutes on each side should be good.
Remove and set aside on a plate.
No need to clean the pan, add a little bit more oil and saute the onions until brown. Pour in the chicken broth to deglaze and add pepper and thyme.
The slow cooker will be filled with 3 different layers. Layer 1: the dried apples. Oh my gosh I never realized that dried apples were SO hard to find! I went to Safeway and Trader Joe’s and they both did not carry dried apples. My dad actually went to Sprouts and finally found it! Such a precious ingredient! I had to stop myself from snacking on these while cooking because unlike other kinds of dried fruit- these dried apples were soft and sweet like marshmallows.
When the dried apples get cooked, they release a lot of sweetness that compliments the peppercorns perfectly.
Layer 2: The slightly cooked pork chops. Layer 3: The sauteed onion mixture. Cover and cook on high for about 1.5 hours. Resist the urge to taste because it smells so good. It’s got 4.5 hours left to go! Then…
I was so excited to try a piece- so tender and full of flavor: slightly sweet and hints of peppercorn.