Monday, March 5, 2012

Slow Cooker Smothered Pork Chops


The pork chops are so tender after cooking that it is best to use a spoon to remove them from the slow cooker to keep them from breaking apart.

4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 medium onions , halved and sliced thin
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves , or 1 teaspoon dried
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
2 bay leaves
6 bone-in blade-cut pork chops , about 3/4-inch thick
Ground black pepper
1tablespoon cider vinegar
1tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Cook the bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the skillet, and refrigerate until serving time.

2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat left in the skillet and place over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits.

3. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, remaining tablespoon brown sugar, soy sauce, tapioca, and bay leaves until evenly combined. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and nestle them in the slow cooker. Cover and cook, either on low or high, until meat is tender, 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.

4. Transfer the pork chops to a serving platter with a large spoon, tent with foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then gently tilt the slow cooker and remove as much fat as possible from the surface using a large spoon. Remove the bay leaves, stir in the vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the bacon in the microwave on high power until heated through and crisp, about 30 seconds. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the chops, sprinkle with the crisp bacon and parsley, and serve, passing the remaining sauce separately.