You’ve lived through Christmas, and now New Year’s is almost here. We don’t know how other places celebrate New Year’s Eve, but it’s common in the South for families and friends to have a hearty dinner including cabbage or leafy greens and black-eyed peas for good luck, then gather in a big back yard or field around a bonfire and set off fireworks.
Pork is usually the meat of choice to serve with this dinner since fatty cuts of pork like bacon are traditionally cooked with the peas and greens for added flavor. So, braised pork chops definitely have the potential to become a New Year’s Eve favorite in your family.
No matter what anybody says, braising isn’t only for the tough stuff. You can braise just about anything, even lettuce. Why wouldn’t you? It one of the easiest ways to cook something and have it turn out as delicious as if you put in hours of effort. Whether you live in a small apartment and are limited to a crock pot and hot plate, or you have a chef worthy kitchen, braising will work for you. Here’s what you need to do.
- 4 Blackwing Organic Pork Chops
- 3 tbsp. Minerva’s Dairy Organic Grass-fed Butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Broth
- 1/2 cup Martinelli’s Apple Juice
- 1 apple, cut in wedges
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch slices
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 tsp. parsley
- 1/4 tsp. thyme
- Pinch of sage
- Pinch of rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill Baking Mix
- If you would rather prepare this recipe in an oven, pull out a deep baking dish or roasting pan with a lid and set the oven for 325 degrees. Many ovens have warmer spots inside or actually cook at higher temperatures than what you set them on, so resist the temptation to set the oven above 325 degrees since the low, slow process of braising is what brings out the superior flavor and tenderness.
- Start by browning the pork chops on medium heat in the melted butter. The crucial thing to remember right now is DO NOT, repeat DO NOT rush this step by cranking up the heat and scorching the butter. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overheat. Burnt butter smells and tastes nasty. You really don’t want to start off that way, guys. The pork chops are ready when they’re brown on the outside and turning lightly golden spots.
- There will be brown bits stuck to the pan and sizzling in the butter; don’t worry, they’re part of the recipe. Transfer the pork chops and butter to a slow cooker or roasting pan. Then pour the apple juice in the pan and scrape the brown bits loose with a wooden spoon. Once you’ve done that, empty the pan over the pork chops and butter.
- Add the apple, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, broth, and seasonings, but don’t add the baking mix yet. That’s for the sauce at the end.
- Now you can relax or be busy accomplishing something else while it cooks for 3 hours at 325 degrees in the oven or on low heat in a crock pot.
- After 3 hours, take the pork chops and other bigger pieces of sweet potatoes and such out of the liquid with tongs and put them in a serving dish. Keep it on warm in the oven while you prepare the sauce. For a smoother sauce, strain out the tiny pieces of everything floating in the liquid before you pour it in the pan you had earlier and add the baking mix. Cook this down on medium heat until it reduces to a sauce.
- Drizzle the sauce over the top of everything in the serving dish and serve it while it’s warm.