Newlywed Couple Thoroughly Enjoying Registry Gifts (Austin, TX)
As DoBianchi and I settle into our married life and adorable little house, we are absolutely in love with every single wedding gift we have received so far. Case in point: Crock Pot (thank you Uncle Ray and Aunt Gladys).
I suffered a slight scare the first time I used it. There was a faint electrical burning smell/smoke that almost sent me into post-registrum depression, but it went away and all is well. Crock Pot and I are getting along swimmingly now! I took one of my fave braised dishes and translated it to the slow cooker. (If you must now, I am an unabashedly enthusiastic braiser.)
I know it ain't much to look at, but it sure tastes good--just ask mah man. Since you can't discern brown from beige here, I'll tell you what it is: pork chops smothered with cabbage. I've been making chicken smothered with cabbage (pretty sure it was a recipe from Marcella Hazan) for quite a few years now, so changing one meat for another is simply a matter of mood.
And who doesn't love a pork chop? I don't not.
Here's what you do:
*Take four pork chops (in the four-pack they only had loin chops, center-cut or rib chops work just fine too) and brown 'em up good in the All-Clad 3 qt braise pan that yo' mamma and daddy gave you for Christmas. Place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
*Take half of an onion, sliced, and brown slightly in the same pan. Add a couple of cloves of garlic when the onions are almost done. (You can throw everything in the pot raw, but your laziness will translate in the finished dish as a sigh of mediocrity :)
*Transfer onion/garlic to Crock Pot in a layer over chops.
*Deglaze the pan with a hit of white wine (in my case, whatever is left over from a week's worth of working in wine biz), enough to cover the pan. Scrape up yummy bits and let it reduce. Add about 3/4 cup of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Pour over contents of Pot. You don't want too much liquid because the cabbage will contribute to the juices.
*Add 1/2 head of chopped cabbage (you can throw in a whole head too if you like) on top of everything.
*Lower the hatch and let it ride on High for 4 hours (3 will work too, if you have less time), or around 6-7 on Low.
What you will witness when you open the lid is quite unattractive to behold (see photo above) but SO so good. All that's left to do is open a rich rose'...we love the Campirosa by Illuminati. It's a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Cerasuolo** DOC and shows lots of strawberry, cherry, raspberry and a surprising hint of lemon zest. There's still an ephemeral spritz in the '08 that balances the sweet caramelized cabbage and earthy pork perfectly. It's available around Austin, for sure at Mandola's, and surely elsewhere.
**Cerasuolo comes from the ancient Italian word ceraso, the same word that gives us ciliegia (cherry). It indicates the cherry-like nature of something.