Unexpected

Ever have one of those days where something totally unexpected occurs? Not a big thing like you win the LOTTO, but just a small thing that shakes you out of your routine? Well, I tried this new slow cooker recipe on Sunday: Pork Chops with Apple Chutney. The plan was to put it on in the morning so that it would be ready around 2:30 because I needed to leave shortly after 3 pm for team training (search and rescue dogs). Then I would also have another small serving around 10 pm when I returned. Sort of a late lunch / late dinner schedule.

I got the meal in as planned in the morning, and the apples and brown sugar smelled soooooooo sweet all day that it totally distracted me from getting anything else done in the house. My stomach rumbled everytime I walked by the kitchen. It was like apple pie and apple crisp and apple struedel all rolled up in one.

At 2:30 it was ready and I was dying to try it. I don’t eat a lot of sweets, but it had smelled so wonderful all day that my mouth watered for some sticky-sweet apppley gooey pork chops.

Then I took my first bite.

Wow, was it hot! Not just oven (or slow cooker hot), but spicy hot! It actually burned my throat. The cayenne pepper totally overwhelmed the brown sugar and cinnamon, even though I had put in a full six tablespoons of brown sugar! After I caught my breath and downed a few big gulps of water, I tried the chutney again, a little more cautiously. It wasn’t bad at all — just completely different from what my palate had been expecting. Imagine being blindfolded, having someone tell you they’re going to feed you a chocolate covered strawberry and then sticking a jalapeno pepper in your mouth!

The pork chops were terrific. Extremely moist and tender. The chutney was very good — just a little hot for my taste, but still edible and very flavorful.

Verdict: I’ll try this one again for sure. I’ll just cut the cayenne pepper in half!

Here is the recipe:

PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE CHUTNEY

4 pork loin chops (I used boneless)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (Cayenne) — Did I measure wrong? It was soooo hot!
1/4 cup dried cranberries (or cherries or golden raisins)
2 medium baking apples, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)

1)Spray 3-4 quart slow cooker with cooking spray (I never do this). Sprinkle pok with salt and pepper, place in slow cooker.

2)In small bowl, mix brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, red pepper and cranberries. Sppon over pork in cooker. Top with apples.

3) Cover; cook on LOW for 4 to 4.5 hours.

Per serving: calories – 400, Total Fat – 13 g, Sodium – 220 mg, Dietary Fiber – 1 g

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