Yet another slow cooker recipe, from the book. We've been using the slow cooker a lot this fall. Not only is the chilly rainy Oregon winter the kind of thing that makes you crave cocooning food, but I have an evening class, and by the time we get home, if there's not something waiting we end up doing takeout. So: slow cooker.
1 and 1/4 pound of boneless pork chops
1/4 cup flour
3 tbsp cooking oil
1 and 1/4 cup white wine (don't worry, the alcohol cooks out)
1 pound or so baby red potatoes
1 large carrot or 10-12 baby carrots
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes
1 red onion
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
Note: amounts of pork, potatoes, and carrots can be adjusted up or down according to how much your cooker holds, how many people you're cooking for, and how many days you want to eat this.
1. Cut pork into 1-inch cubes. Toss in the flour.
2. Heat the oil in a pan and brown the pork. When the pork is brown, transfer it to the slow cooker, but don't scrape the bottom of the frying pan. The pork should be concentrated in the center of the cooker.
3. Add wine to the frying pan and bring it to a boil, scraping up the flour, oil, and browned bits in the pan. Pour this mix into the slow cooker.
4. Slice the potatoes (unpeeled) into quarters and place them around the pork, up against the sides of the cooker. Slice carrots and add to the cooker.
5. Chop red onion extremely fine - it's best if you use a food processor and chop it until it's almost (but not quite) liquefied. Add to slow cooker.
6. Chop celery extremely fine - again, food processor is best, until almost (but not quite) liquefied. Add to slow cooker.
7. Add diced tomatoes (and the liquid in the can).
8. Add water, garlic, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Add the cinnamon stick and make sure it's submerged in the liquid.
9. Cook on low for 6 hours or so. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.
Notes: You can do this without browning the pork (I did that the first time I made it), but browning it makes a big difference: it keeps the pork moist inside and adds a great flavor to the outside. But the real secret to this (which I only discovered because I'm lazy) turned out to be using the food processor to chop the onion and celery: rather than being pieces floating in the soup, they ended up being a component of the broth - and you wouldn't think wine, cinnamon, and celery would work together, but they really do. ...I found that adding salt when you eat this really brings out the flavor, but Akiko thought it was better without, so I suggest making it with only a pinch of salt at most and then seasoning to taste. Goes best when served with some nice crusty bread for dipping.