When eating by season, I get to a point in time (much like this one) where everything that lives inside of me is aching to cook and eat brighter meals; yet, the temperatures outside keep fighting against each other, toiling with my emotions.
Is it Winter? Will it soon be Spring?
My hands and heart are ready to start digging in soil to begin a new season in growth, and for goodness sake, to be outside! Yet, a drop in temp and a fresh coating of snow tells me otherwise.
Inside, my boys are bouncing from wall to couch, spinning in circles – jumping and tugging, punching and bruising. Will this blasted thing called Winter end?
Well, it always does and one Holiday that lets me know that Spring is almost here is St. Patricks Day. No, I don’t celebrate St. Paddy’s Day – I’ve never drank a beer in honor of Saint Patrick either. However, I know that once St. Patricks Day is here, Spring time is near.
That alone is as good excuse as any to celebrate. Don’t ya think?
So, with the thought that slow cooked meals will soon be put away for a season, I thought it would be a great idea to celebrate that Spring is almost near with slow cooked pork chops, cabbage, and fennel.
This is a simple, humble meal that starts by browning responsible pork that nourishes both the stomach and the soul. After all, when you have people like Chad and Danelle that tend with their hearts, you can’t help but smile knowing that you’re a part of something greater than just food.
In the same pan, onions are sauteed (ever so slightly) and added to a 7 quart crock pot with the pork.
Since starting my menu plan, I’ve started developing many new crock pot recipes to give people an opportunity to step away from their homes and still feed their families well on a budget. However, this recipe can be braised, low and slow on a stove top as well.
Again, in the same pan a thickened sauce is made with homemade chicken stock and cream picking up all of those cast away pieces which flavor and bolden, then poured over the chops and onions. If you do celebrate St. Patricks day, substituting 1/4 – 1/2 cup of stock for Guinness beer could only be good.
Layered on top, are quartered cabbages, a quartered fennel bulb, and its sprigs.
Covered and cooked on low for 8 hours can have a profound impact on ones soul. I suppose staying inside for one more day isn’t so bad after all. Here’s to St. Patricks Day!
A recipe to celebrate that Spring is almost near – Slow cooked pork or lamb chops with cabbage and fennel.
- Four 1” Pork Chops or Lamb Chops
- Salt and pepper to season chops
- 4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, cut into 1/4” slices
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 cup cream
- 2 tbls flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 large cabbage, quartered
- 1 fennel bulb, quartered
- 2 sprigs fennel tops
- With a towel, lightly pat the chops dry, then season the chops on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat 3 tbls extra virgin olive oil in a skillet or cast iron pan. Add the chops, and brown on both sides. About 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the chops to the crock of a 6 quart slow cooker.
- In the same skillet or cast iron pan that you browned your chops, add 1 more tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the onions. Saute over medium heat until they just start to soften, about 3 - 4 minutes. Not to the point of transparency. Add the onions to the crockpot.
- In the same pan that you just sauteed your onions, add 1 3/4 cups of chicken stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any pices of browned bits. Add 1/4 cup of cream, 1 tsp salt, and slowly whisk in 2 tbls of flour. Continue to simmer until the sauce thickens; about 3-4 minutes. Pour the sauce over the onions and chops in the crock.
- To the crock, add the quartered fennel bulb and cabbage.
- Layer 2 stalks of fennel leaves on top of the cabbage. This will infuse it with its flavor during the cooking time.
- Cover the crock and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Serve the chop topped with onions and its gravy with a side of slow cooked fennel, and cabbage, drizzled with a dash of lemon juice and garnished with fresh fennel sprigs.
Do you have Spring fever? Please share with us what keeps you sane during this time of year.