Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Recipe: Lemon Pork Chops


From: Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Best Loved Recipes.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; 4 boneless pork chops; 3 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce; 1 large onion, quartered and sliced (optional); 1 large green pepper, cut into strips; 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning; 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce; 1 large lemon, quartered; lemon wedges (optional)

Directions: 1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat until hot. Brown pork chops on both sides. Drain excess fat and discard. Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Combine tomato sauce, onion, if desired, bell pepper, lemon-pepper seasoning and Worcestershire. Add to slow cooker.

3. Squeeze juice from lemon quarters over mixture; drop squeezed peels into slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 6 to 8 hour or until pork is tender. Remove lemon wedges before serving. Garnish with additional lemon wedges, if desired.

What you need to know:

First off, I don't think the inclusion of the onion should be optional. The onion adds another layer of flavor, and if you throw in enough onion and bell pepper you won't need a side dish. The photo in the cookbook shows the chops atop a bed of rice, but this works great as a one pot meal.

Second, 3 cans of tomato sauce is way, way too much. Even with 2 cans you'll be left with 3 inches of veritable lemon-pepper soup after extracting the chops and covering them with sauce. 2 cans is plenty.

The first time you make this recipe, you might want to leave the squeezed and quartered lemon out of the pot. Between the whole tablespoon of lemon-pepper and the fresh squeezed juice, you'll have a heap of lemon flavor. If you aren't a true lemon lover, cooking the wedges all those hours along with the rest might be overkill for you. You won't need the additional lemon wedges unless you just want to decorate the plate.

My favorite slow cooker recipes are usually those that only require me to chuck all the ingredients into the pot and let it cook them itself, but browning the pork chops is a good first step. As the recipe points out, it will reduce the fat content and make your dinner more healthful.

Kyle and I have substituted the thin-sliced breakfast chops (Kroger sells them in a package of 6-7) for the 4 regular sliced chops several times, and we haven't had to change anything else about the recipe. As a matter of fact, other than setting the cooker at the wrong time or temperature, it's pretty difficult to screw this up. Even a novice cook can make this meal come out delicious the first time (and every time), and most of the ingredients are cabinet staples.

This is a fantastic recipe. The tomato sauce makes it rich and satisfying, and the fresh lemon keeps it bright and perfect for spring or summer. They are wonderful complements. The pork will literally be falling apart when you serve it up. It tastes like something that has been cooking for hours, and the Crock Pot won't heat up your kitchen the same way an oven would - a great relief during these hot months in the South. That being said, I'd recommend this recipe for any season.

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