Saturday, December 4, 2010

Braised Pork Chops with Turnips and Apples

First off, I am posting this as pork chops because that's the meat listed in the recipe. I didn't have pork chops, so I decide that chicken thighs (with skin and bones) would have to work.

I will take this moment to talk about how much I love a good boned meat (ooh la la...). I am effing tired of boneless skinless meat. I know I know, it's healthier, cooks faster, and generally easy to use in recipes. However, my aging taste buds are craving something with a deeper flavor. Bones provide wonderful flavor, and if you save them you can make homemade broth. There is also something great about tearing meat off a bone.

What I also love about this recipe, is that it embraces a winter root vegetable. Since my family never ate a lot of greens, I never saw the root. Last year at some point I just received the roots and I actually had to use the Internet to identify them. The little purple and white bulbs smell kind of bitter when you peel and cut them, so you might be hesitant to try them. Don't be! I am always shocked at how much I enjoy turnip roots.

This recipe is another from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker: Recipes for Two. All you do is sear the meat, saute the onions, and them dump everything into the slow cooker. Then you can go to work or clean up your apartment, or just sit on the couch all day like I did.

As for changes to the recipe, I used chicken thighs instead of pork. I used half of a white onion in place of the shallots, and I used low fat sour cream instead of cream fraiche.

The flavors come together nicely. The chicken was great and I could imagine how good a pork chop could be as well. The apples kind of lost their shape, but the turnips held together nicely. I served it alongside some multi-grain pilaf and dug in. Yummy!

Are you tired of boneless skinless meat? What are some of your favorite winter vegetables? How do you use them in the kitchen? Please share with us in the comments section!

Braised Pork Chops with Turnips and Apples
(Serves Two)

Cooker: 1 1/2 to 2 quart
Setting and Cook Time: LOW for 6 to 7 hours

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Two 1-inch thick boneless center-cut pork chops or shoulder chops
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 shallots, sliced
1 tart cooking apple, peeled, cored, and sliced into wedges
1/4 cup apples juice or apple cider
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons creme fraiche

1. In a heavy skillet over high heat, melt the olive oil and butter together and quickly sear and brown the pork chops on both sides. Place in the slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Quickly saute the shallot in the pan and place in the slow cooker, along with the apple and turnip. Blend the apple juice with the mustard and pour into the crock. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until the meat is tender.

3. Transfer the chops, apples, and turnips to a platter. Turn the cooker to HIGH and whisk in the cream fraiche. Add salt to taste and pour the sauce over the pork. Serve immediately.

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