I formally thought slow cooker meats always translated into a shredded product. And while I adore low-cooked dishes yielding tender, fall apart meat, it doesn’t have to end that way.
It’s my opinion the original idea of the slow cooker was a solution to a busy day – – throw it in the cooker, and go out for the day. If you are around my age, you will know from experience today’s slow cookers aren’t so slow compared to our mothers’ “Crock-pots.” Many recipes can’t go for longer than 5 hours (some less) on low without compromising the integrity of the dish. Even my slow cooker lasagna with uncooked noodles can’t go for more than 4 hours on low. Of course, it all depends on what you are making. Raw beans in the slow cooker will go all day, as will a big hunk of meat. When using older slow cooker recipes, you need to take into consideration, the times for those dishes were based on slow cookers of yesteryear.
Indeed, the slow cooker can transform the toughest piece of meat into a tender bite, but it also can help cooks avoid meats like chicken breasts and pork loin from becoming dry. If you are as queasy as I am at the thought of under cooked pork or chicken, you might have overcooked a chop or two. The solution for me is doing a sear on meat, and slow cooking it until tender, but still intact. I recently made a pork chop dish using this method, and included a quick, homemade gravy which rivals even the best Cracker Barrel has to offer. Made with common pantry staples this dish makes enough thick gravy to pour over mashed potatoes.
Slow Cooker Country Pork Chops and Gravy
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of boneless pork loin chops
1 cup of all-purpose flour
3 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
22 ounces of chicken broth
Cut into even chops, or better yet, have the grocery store butcher do it for you. Mix the dry ingredients together.
Coat the chops.
Heat 3 TBSP of oil (more if needed) in a pan on medium meat, or your slow cooker with a browning feature. Cook chops until each side is golden.
Place all chops in the slow cooker. Mix broth and remaining flour and whisk until smooth.
Pour into slow cooker.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Every slow cooker is different, so the first time making this recipe, check about half way though to see how it’s going. Also, cooking times will be determined to how thick your chops are sliced. I served these pork chops and gravy with mashed potatoes and peas.