What's For Dinner: Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apple Chutney

Though we are now officially in the summer season, last week it was a bit chilly and grey up here in Northern Wisconsin, which led me to look to my slow cooker for some dinnertime inspiration. Pork chops are one of the few meats available fresh at our local natural foods store (they sell most meats (chicken, beef, fish) in their frozen state), so, without any meat thawed in the fridge, I knew pork would have to be the main ingredient. Growing up, pork chops were typically served alongside applesauce at our house, so my next thought went to apples. Just adding chopped apples seemed a little too boring, so I opted to make a savory/spicy apple-based chutney instead.

Though the resulting dish may not look all that appetizing, let me assure you that it was delicious. The chutney helps to keep the pork chops tender and moist while they cook, and it adds a delicious sweet flavor that has just a little kick from the addition of red pepper flakes and mustard seeds. Though this dish might feature the flavors of fall, it tastes just as good in the summer months as it would any other time of the year.

Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apple Chutney (printer-friendly version)
makes four servings

4 center-cut boneless pork chops, 1-inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (or use 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried whole yellow mustard seeds
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped coarsely
3 medium apples, peeled, chopped (I used golden delicious apples)

1. Spray a 4-quart slow cooker bowl with cooking spray. Liberally salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop, then place them into the bottom of the prepped slow cooker bowl.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the honey, apple cider vinegar, freshly grated ginger, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, mustard seeds, chopped onion, and chopped dried cherries.
3. Pour the mixture evenly over the pork chops.
4. Top with the chopped apples.
5. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until the pork chops are cooked through.
6. Serve immediately.