Simple Recipe for Working Moms: Smothered Pork Chops, Crock Pot-Style

Pork chops, especially thin-cut beauties, are a working mom’s best friend. They are super simple to make in so many ways. I usually just douse them with seasoned salt, a little garlic powder and pepper and pop them underneath the broiler. I turn them once and broil the chops until they are brown and sizzling. I even don’t mind if they are a little bit tough this way. My husband and I are a rare breed when it comes to tougher pork chops, I guess. If they turn out a little chewy, we just slap on some hot sauce and eat them like pop cycles. Barbaric, I know. I try to make moister ones for the kiddies.

Anyway, you could also spray them with a light coating of cooking spray, dip them in seasoned bread crumbs and fry them in a little olive oil. Or for a more decadent version, dip them in a beaten egg, then into flour, back into the egg, then into bread crumbs and fry in a deep pan of cooking or olive oil. Yum!

But, my favorite way to eat any type of pork, ribs included, is braised. Totally opposite from the leather-like texture of fully broiled chops. Cooking pork more than an hour achieves wonderfully tender, fall-off-the bone texture that is so comforting and filling. It just makes me think of fall. And using a crock pot to achieve the braising technique is so easy and perfect for a working mom who likes to cook.

So this recipe is inspired by a Vietnamese dish I remember trying when I was really young but it was made with tofu instead (and was probably only cooked for a half an hour on the stove top). But basically, except for the pork and the cooking time, the ingredients are the same. Thin pork chops are slowly braised in chicken broth and stewed tomatoes and smothered with onion and garlic. I also add an Asian flare by adding soy sauce and throw in a little tang with some balsamic vinegar. It sounds odd but it is so aromatic, kind of sweet, and a little exotic. It’s also very low-calorie.

The dish takes a bit of preparation the night before but the greatest thing about it is you just turn on the crock pot in the morning and all you have to do when you return home at night is make a pot of white rice.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

-2 cans of low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
-2 cans of canned stewed tomatoes
-3/4 yellow onion
-2 smashed and minced garlic cloves
-5 thin-cut pork chops (I like the bone-in kind)
-3 tbsp. soy sauce
-2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
-Seasoned salt and pepper
-Garlic powder
-1 Bay leaf

Season the pork chops on both sides with the seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place them inside the crock pot. Cut the onion in half and slice lengthwise, using only 3/4 of the onion, and smash, peel and mince the garlic. Place the onions and garlic over the top of the pork and pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and bay leaf. Stir all of the liquid ingredients together on top of the pork. Place the lid on top of the crock pot and refrigerate until the morning. When you leave the next day, set the crock pot for as long as you’ll be gone. When you return home, just make some white rice and serve the pork stew, if you will, over the top. I usually omit the liquid for the kids because it’s hot and a little messy for them. Voila! So good and so comforting. In fact, it’s my husband’s favorite.

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