Sweet & Spicy Slow-cooker Pork Chops

Sometimes—often-times for some folks—we’re just too busy, tired, or simply uninspired to cook up a dinner that is not only tasty and enticing but is also still somewhat nutritious.  One that doesn’t dirty up every pot and pan you own; one that doesn’t come in a box or paper bag.  Enter the trusty slow cooker.  With a little bit of planning, you can have a home-cooked meal, hot and ready to eat when you get in from a long day tending to the homestead, navigating the concrete jungle, or holding down the couch.  This particular recipe employs one of my favorite flavor combinations: sweet and spicy.  A little bit Hawaiian luau, a little bit Chinese take-out, and a lotta bit delicious, Sweet & Spicy Slow-cooker Pork Chops are reminiscent of some favorite take-out dishes without any additives or mystery ingredients.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs. boneless pork chops
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1-2 c. snow peas or sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 c. soy sauce
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. ketchup
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple slices, juice reserved
  • 1/4 c. rice vinegar
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2-4 T. chili paste (like Sambal Oelek), to taste
  • 1/2 c. cold water 
  • 1/4 c.  cornstarch
  • Cooked brown or white rice for serving (optional)

In a bowl large enough to hold a little over 2 cups, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, pineapple juice, vinegar, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of chili paste.  Taste it at this point for heat and add more chili paste if you like it spicier.  Then, in a separate small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the water and cornstarch into a slurry until there are no lumps.  Add the slurry to the sauce and whisk to combine.

Now, lightly grease or spray your slow cooker and pour in enough sauce to coat the bottom well.  Layer the pork chops, pepper slices, and peas and then pour over the remaining sauce.  Cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4.  I like to crack the lid in the last 30 minutes or so to let the steam escape, allowing the sauce to thicken a little more.

Serve over rice, if you like, or enjoy on its own. 

More made-from-scratch dinners:

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Tamale Pie

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