Slow Cooker Thoughts and a Great Pork Chop Recipe

The process of using a slow cooker was to save time and effort but the recipes we use for them today are certainly more involved than the old dump, turn on, and run recipes created with their initial introduction to the home kitchen. First, we learned that searing the proteins prior to dumping and running produce a superior product. Also the number of ingredients used today, has increased as we realize our palettes require more depth of flavors. Long gone are the days when we toss the protein into the pot and drape a can of cream o’ crap on top and hope for the best! The quote: Variety is the Spice of Life definitely pertains here, the more tweaking we do to tried and true recipes the more satisfaction we gain, by making it our own.

The results of this simple tweak is that while the family is running around gathering breakfasts of cereal, pop-tarts, toasted frozen waffles etc. someone is searing chicken thighs to add to the crockpot for dinner 8 hours later. If that person is also scurrying around getting ready for work it presents two issues. Going to work in clothing that smells like a line cook and the grease splattered stove top that one might not want to deal with later after working all day.

Enter the broiler browning method. It still requires effort early in the a.m. but it does present a simpler method to be cleaned up. I first heard of the broiler searing method in a long ago chat regarding short ribs. The original poster described how she browned the seasoned short ribs under the broiler on foil lined sheet pans, turning to ensure all sides had some caramelized crusting, then transferring to the dutch oven to be braised for hours to ensure full tenderness.

I adopted that method for short ribs that I finished in a pressure cooker and slow cooker as well as the myriad of oven-braised in a dutch oven recipes. Over the years I’ve used it for stew meat, pot roasts, very typical meaty dishes. Recently, I’ve used it for boneless chicken thighs destined for the crockpot cacciatore and even a riff on Puttanesca Thighs! Of course, the possibilities are endless. Clean up involves rolling up the used foil and disposing!! Stovetop is spared another grease splattered clean up!

Today’s recipe uses this method for the pork chops and for the smothering veggies! The result will be some early in the day prep, many hours hands-off and bit of time on the finishing touches and side dish(es) at dinner time. All in all a great meal with minimal fuss and easy clean up. Another tip: Slow Cooker Liners! I bow to the inventor!

In the photos you can see the chops ready for the slow cooker and the softened, lightly charred veggies also ready to go.

Chef Jims Smothered Doublecut Pork Chops for Two

Recipe By: Chef Jim Servings: 2   Category: Slow Cooker Pork Chops


  • 2 large Doublecut bone-in pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Penzey’s 33rd and Galena Spice Rub
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup beef bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 large onion — sliced 1/2 moons 1/4 in thick
  • 1 large red bell pepper — sliced 1/4″ thick rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic — minced
  • 15 ounces canned pinto beans (optional) — drained and rinsed


  1. Make sauce combining ketchup, broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, chili powder, and ground mustard.
  2. Place oven rack 4-5 inches below broiler. Place second rack 10 inches below top rack. Preheat broiler. Prepare 2 small sheet pans with aluminum foil.
  3. Pat pork chops dry with a paper towels then brush both sides of pork chops with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with salt and spice rub. Place on prepared pan and place under broiler.   Sear both sides of chops under the broiler for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. place in slow cooker.
  4. Toss onions & pepper with remaining olive oil and spread out on second sheet pan sprinkle with minced garlic.  When you place the chops under the broiler place onion mixture on lower rack in the oven beneath pork chops, this will start the softening process. After the chops are done move the onions to top rack and broil 1-2 minutes. You want the vegetables to soften and get a small amount of char on the edges so watch carefully. Place on top of chops in slow cooker.
  5. Add sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, add beans (if using) and stir to combine. Turn slow cooker to high and cook one hour. 
  6. Add sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours, add beans (if using) and stir to combine. Turn slow cooker to high and cook one hour. 

Serve over white or brown basmati rice. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro and a dash of hot sauce.  A green salad with a simple vinaigrette would be appropriate, too.


Eat Well…Be Well

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Following up with some of yesterday’s ULTIMATE POSSIBLE TURKEY BURGER’s extra ingredients, I created a new Flatbread Pizza.

My favorite pizza is a great slice of Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza at Pizza Classica which is located nearby in Glendale, NY. I’ve never attempted to make it at home as the “roommate” (aka Nana) doesn’t like Caesar Dressing! I know nearing blasphemy being married to a Chef and not liking Caesar Salad! So today I was contemplating the flatbreads and started grabbing the cherry tomatoes, bacon, gorgonzola cheese and iceberg lettuce and before too long I realized a few dollops of Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing would be just the thing to push this BLT Pizza over the top!

Using the Thin Pizza Crust version of my favorite Brooklyn Bred flatbreads, I made a tasty lunch for us. We ate well and enjoyed Watermelon cubes and Ginger Cookies for dessert.

Here’s what I did: Spread a little mayo on the top of the flatbreads and grated Gorgonzola on top. Then I slid these onto the preheated pizza stone and turned on the broiler to brown the top and melt the cheese. Three minutes was perfect as the stone was on the middle shelf of the oven. Pulled them out, spread cherry tomato halves, crumbled bacon, a little crumbled gorgonzola cheese, lettuce and a few small dollops of Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing on top for a great tasting BLT Pizza!

Seasoned my slices with freshly ground black pepper and a few chili flakes for a touch of heat.

There was no hesitation, as deliciousness abounded and they were quickly devoured. This will be a repeated treat!

BLT Flatbread PIzza

Eat Well…Be Well!

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Yesterday I was craving a Burger and mucking around the internet I saw several thousand variations, some I’ve used in the past with mixed results. A few ingredients inspired me but none of the recipes sent me running to the kitchen. So I realized that I should just put forth a little effort and create my own recipe. Also I was thinking that I would have picked any of the recipes, printed it and taken it to the kitchen and tweaked it a few times anyway. I closed the browser with 8 to 10 tabs still open and decided to make up my own new version of a Turkey Burger.

This is how THE ULTIMATE POSSIBLE TURKEY BURGER was born. The recipe was created on “paper” then put into action and tweaked a few times while mixing it all together.

The proper title is now: Chef Jim’s Mushroom Bacon Turkey Burger with Buttermilk Gorgonzola Sauce in Lettuce Cups.

I did use one ingredient that is unusual for me and that is Dehydrated Onion Flakes! I own them as they play an important roll in the copycat White Castle Slider recipe that I’ve used in the past. What I like about them in this recipe is they provide a bit of onion flavor without chunks of onion in the mix, thus highlighting the chunks of mushrooms. Certainly finely uniform diced onion would work if you prefer, but grated onion provides an added liquidy texture in my opinion that doesn’t always bode well in finished product.

For the same reason, I used Penzeys Roasted Garlic Powder in the seasoning. If you haven’t tried the Roasted Garlic Powder, get some quick. It truly is a flavor booster! I also used a Penzeys dried herb blend in the Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing. It blends chives, dill, basil, tarragon, chervil and white pepper and imparts a mild herby flavor to the dressing. Eliminate if you like or add your favorite greenish herb blend or fresh herb. Fresh chives would be sufficient on their own.

This dressing is very useful for any salad but my first use for it was on Chilled Grilled Chicken Strips over Crisp Romaine with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes. This Chicken recipe is a delicious buffet entree and makes a beautiful platter! The dressing is also great on grilled Romaine Halves!!!

Back to the ULTIMATE POSSIBLE BURGER, of course, here in my Queens, NY apartment it’s not possible to grill Burgers on a Charcoal or Gas Grill, but delicious results were created by utilizing my stovetop cast iron grill pan and a hot oven for finishing.

Chef Jim’s Mushroom Bacon Turkey Burgers with Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing in Lettuce Cups Recipe

Author: Chef Jim

Serving Size  : 4    

Amount Ingredient Preparation
1 Tbsp Olive Oil  
1 Cup Fresh mushrooms Finely chopped
3 Tbsp Minced onion flakes  
1/2 tsp Roasted garlic powder  
1/4 tsp Kosher salt  
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper  
3 Tbsp Barbecue sauce  
3 strips Cooked bacon crumbled
1 Tbsp Olive Oil  
4 Tbsp Gorgonzola cheese crumpled
4 Iceberg Lettuce Cups  
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes quartered
2 strips Cooked Bacon crumbled
  Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing See recipe
  Salt and Pepper to taste  

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil once they begin giving off natural juices add onion flakes and garlic powder, cook until liquid has mostly evaporated, remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Cool.

Season ground turkey with salt and pepper add crumbled bacon, mushroom mixture and barbecue sauce.  Form into 4 patties and let sit in fridge for 20 minutes.

Remove burgers from fridge and brush lightly with olive oil.  Toss tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste set tomatoes aside.

Grill burgers until 160º on instant read thermometer, add one tablespoon of crumbled blue cheese on top of each burger for last minute or two of cooking.  Remove from grill add to lettuce cups and garnish with tomatoes and the collected juices from salting, the optional extra crumbled bacon then dress with Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing.

**I grilled mine on cast iron grill pan until 130º then finished in hot oven.

 Dressing–Buttermilk Gorgonzola Dressing

Author: Chef Jim

Serving Size: 6

Amount Ingredient preparation
2/3 cup Buttermilk  
1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt  
1/4 tsp Roasted Garlic Powder  
5 ounces Gorgonzola Cheese Crumbled
1/8 tsp Kosher Salt  
1/8 tsp Ground Black Pepper  
1 tsp Parisien Bonnes Herbs (Penzeys)

In medium size bowl combine buttermilk, yogurt, and garlic powder; mix in cheese, season with salt and pepper, and dried herbs to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Hope you enjoy this slightly decadent, somewhat healthyish flavorful recipe!

Eat Well…Be Well!

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