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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Slow Cooker Pork Loin Chops

The weather has turned extremely ugly here so that means I'm going into hibernation mode. Well not hibernation as in sleeping the entire winter but finding any excuse as to avoid going outside. That translates into filling, homemade comfort meals using meats from the freezer and ingredients from the pantry. Quite often the evening meal is decided on the spur of the moment starting with an idea I got from something I saw in the pantry or freezers. Now this is actually a good thing in many respects because stored foods are getting used up.

pork loin chops thawingPork Loin Chops

When we took the turkey our of the freezer we moved a few packages of meat to the top of the freezer to get used up. This is really important to help rotate the food in the freezer and prevent foods from staying in the freezer too long. One of the packages of meat was pork loin chops. Aren't they gorgeous? I removed the package the night before to start thawing in the refrigerator which is one of the safest ways of thawing meats. Unlike some I very seldom use the microwave oven for defrosting meats. The following morning I moved the pork loin chops to the counter to finish thawing before browning. By then I had decided to take the easy cooking method of using the slow cooker. Now the slow cooker is not one of my favourite appliances but it's so grey outside that my mood change that normally happens in November has already started.

browning the pork loin chopBrowning

One of the things I really dislike about the slow cooker is it does not brown meats and there is no way to brown meats using a slow cooker. Browning meat aka searing involves using a hot pan just to seal in the juices. My preferred fry pan for this is a stainless steel with copper core bottom but for this dish I reached for a non-stick fry pan. The reason being is I did not want to add any fat to this dish as it would be heavy enough.

Browning serves a couple of purposes. First it seals in the juices keeping the meat tender. Second browning adds to both the flavour and colour of the final dish. Browning give a richness and depth to the final dish that can't be achieved by any other method. I browned the pork loin chops before putting them in the slow cooker.

slow cooker pork loin chopsThe Meal

Despite being rich and creamy looking and tasting this meal is actually low fat. I used 4 tins of low sodium condensed mushroom soup mixed with 2 c of skim milk. The pork loin chops where well trimmed too. Then I added about 8 small potatoes cubes, some niblet corn (home froze) and home canned mushrooms. Using a slow cooker for this dish means the sauce doesn't thicken and darken like it does on the stovetop. I thickened the sauce using instant potatoes, stirring in 1 tbsp at a time until I got the right consistency for the sauce. The end result was a very rich yet low fat, low sodium comfort meal perfect for a cold, damp fall evening meal.

1 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

The slow cooker comes out in the fall. SOmething about having a dish slow bubbling all day makes you feel warmer. I love this, the low salt is very appealing. Nice job