It’s Tara’s birthday. Well, actually her birthday is later on in the month, on a day when I’ll be out of the state. So I wanted to make her a decent birthday dinner, based off of her standby favorite meal of pork chops and mashed potatoes.
But I’m still a bit of a selfish twit. I also wanted to ensure that I had a recipe based on Black Peppers, the current ingredient under the microscope here at the Hedonist. Luckily we were able to agree upon a recipe discovered by Alton Brown on Good Eats. I’ve altered the recipe just a tad (dried pears instead of dried apples), but ultimately, the recipe comes from Mr. Brown.
The result? I love using the slow cooker, as it gives meat the moistness that is often difficult to obtain from the stove top. While Tara agreed that the pork chops were quite moist, she thought that the taste of the pork chops was a little bland. I disagreed with her, as I found them flavor, although they were a tad too salty (If I were to make these again, I would NOT season them with salt, as the flavor from the brine and then the chicken broth was likely quite adequate).
Was it peppery? Somewhat. But the pepper flavor came out more in the gravy I made with the broth found in the slow cooker at the end of the 5 plus hours of cooking. The gravy was quite tasty.
Would I make this again? Perhaps if I lived alone. Tara was underwhelmed, and I don’t like to remake foods that have been judged as only passable.
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 lb. ice
- 4 pork chops with bone still in
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 ounces dried pear slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, julienned
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 stalk fresh thyme
In a medium saucepan placed over a medium-high heat, combine the vegetable broth, 1/2 cup kosher salt, brown sugar and peppercorns. Bring to temperature long enough just until the salt and sugar dissolve. Remove from the heat and add the ice. Stir until the ice melts. Pur into a 2 gallon ziploc bag and add the pork chops. Seal and place in a plastic container and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chops from the brine, rinse, and pat dry. Season on both sides with the kosher salt and set aside.
Place the pear slices in the slow cooker.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch stainless steel saute pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork chops on both sides until golden brown, approximately 4 to 6 minutes per side. When browned, place the pork chops into the slow cooker atop the pears.
Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan followed by the onions and saute until they begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth to the pan to deglaze. Add the black pepper and stir. Pour into the slow cooker, set to high, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for another 4 hours and 30 minutes or until the pork is tender and falling away from the bone.