No doubt Rosie would have loved to have had a crock pot in her day. Unfortunately, they didn’t exist at the time. In fact, I don’t recall my mother buying a crock pot until the early 1970s, and it was quite a novelty at the time. Pop something in, turn it on, go about your business, and by dinnertime, it’s done.
The other day someone posted a photo on Facebook about an easy way to prepare pork chops in the crock pot. I used to love bone in pork chops, but nowadays they are hard to find. My grocer doesn’t carry them, and the leaner, boneless pork chops are simply too dry for my taste, which means I rarely cook them anymore. That said, I thought I’d give this a try, so I added cream to mixture and gave it a shot. The results were surprisingly good.
CREAMY SLOW COOKED PORK CHOPS
6 to 8 pork chops
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons half and half or milk
1 package ranch dressing mix
Blend soup and half and half in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Wash pork chops thoroughly and place half of them in the crock pot. Pour in half of the soup mixture. Stack remaining pork chops on top, and pour in remaining soup mixture. Top with ranch dressing mix. Turn the crock pot on low and cook for 4 to 6 hours. Serve over rice.
Back in college I had a boyfriend whom I’ll call, “George.” He was studying to be an architect, but had he pursued it, I really believe he would have been a damn fine chef. George was a whiz in the kitchen. He was master at creating simple, tasty dishes on a slim budget. For example, he could take a boring, frozen pizza, pile on his own freshly made toppings, and turn it into a gourmet meal.
One of George’s signature dishes was his short ribs. He’d simply dump them into a crock pot, pour in a bottle of barbecue sauce, and cook them on low for eight hours. They came out so tender that the meat fell right off the bone. Back then neither one of us had access to an outdoor grill, but George’s ribs sure satisfied our yen for barbecue.
Being a good cook myself, I’ve tweaked his recipe, ever so slightly. With food prices the way they are these days, short ribs are like gold, but their ugly cousin, the back rib, is cheaper, flavorful, and works nicely in a crock pot. I simply stack them in, with a little barbecue sauce between the layers, and then add a little sauce on the top, but I don’t use anymore than a quarter to a half of the bottle. The sauce becomes watery as it cooks, so less sauce means less mess and a richer barbeque flavor. It also means some the meat on the top will get a little drier, but it will also have more of the consistency of meat that’s been grilled or broiled. Set the cooker on low, wait about seven or eight hours, and you’ll have yourself a tasty meal. I like to serve mine with scalloped potatoes or baked beans. Or both.