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Something amazing happened when I was making this broccoli apple slaw. I was cutting all the apple and broccoli pieces by hand at a rate way faster than what is considered safe for someone with a kitchen accident record as extensive as mine and I DID NOT CUT OFF ANY FINGERS. Yep, you read that right. Not a single one. My fingernails shielded me from the blade and took all the hits. Which still sounds bad but consider this. What did the cooking gods give us fingernails for if not to protect our fingers so we can chop faster? Makes sense, right? If you ask me, they should really be called "finger shields" or "finger armor".
That's not the only incredible thing that happened with this recipe either. Lenny and I were sitting down having this for dinner and all of a sudden he stands up and starts taking pictures of his plate with his phone. What?! That's my thing. He doesn't do that. Was he mocking me?
"This is the best thing you've ever made", he said. Ok, so he was being serious. But what was he going to do with the photos? He sent them to people! Holy crap. It's like I don't even know my own husband anymore. My recipe somehow invoked a personality shift in him. My husband takes food photos. I'm still waiting for that fact to sink in.
There's a logical explanation for his reaction though. Sure, the food was good but it goes beyond that. He loves pork chops and I can't stand them. The last time I cooked pork chops for him was about seven years ago. As somebody who considers cooking a hobby, I do almost all of the cooking for our family so he probably hasn't had that many pork chops in the past few years.
Now, you're probably thinking I don't like pork because I overcook it and "pork can be a little pink now". It's not a texture or dryness issue. I actually associate pork chops with being nauseous. Back when I didn't know I was gluten intolerant, I think I had low stomach acid or something because I couldn't digest a lot of meat. The more "dense" the meat was, the worse nausea and stomach aches I would get after eating it. I ate a lot of fish and ground meats, even ground and shredded pork but pork chops gave me more issues than any other meat.
The reason why I chose pork chops for this recipe is that I felt like I had a lot of beef, chicken, and dessert recipes on the blog without a lot of other proteins. (Looking back, I actually do have some ground pork, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, and all sorts of recipes I forgot about that use different meats.) Since Lenny likes pork chops and hadn't had them in a while, I decided I'd attempt to make them edible. And it worked! I'm telling you, I despise pork chops but I ate half of one and really enjoyed it. Along with about a hundred servings of that slaw!
The garlic pepper seasoning sounds pretty basic but it was inspired by a seasoning blend we used to use on our grilled meats. It was so addicting but I can't find it anymore, nor do I know if it's gluten free. The seasoning blend I made tastes really close.
The broccoli apple slaw was based off of my friend's broccoli salad recipe. It had raw broccoli florets, diced apples, grapes, raisins, sunflower seeds, and "sugared ranch". I remember arguing with her while she made her own recipe. I told her she was ridiculous for using both grapes and raisins and that broccoli salad needed a vinaigrette, not ranch. Plus, who in their right mind mixes granulated sugar into ranch dressing?
Well, I think the extra fruit and sugar won me over because I started making that broccoli salad all the time after that. I hadn't made it in a long time and since I was thinking I'd pair some sort of fruit like apples with the pork, I figured I could do a slaw version of her broccoli salad. Without the grapes because I'm still right about that. I also couldn't find gluten free sunflower seeds but the slivered almonds I used instead were great!
So I thought I could just grate the broccoli stems and apples into those little matchstick pieces but it all just turned to mush. As a food blogger, I wish I could tell you the secret to making it work but I don't know. Instead, I used my mandolin on the thickest setting to quickly slice everything. Then I stacked several slices on top of each other and sliced again to get the results you see in the photo. To cut everything, including my built in finger armor, it only took about ten minutes. Maybe add another minute or two if you're being cautious. (Please be cautious!)
These grilled pork chops are a summery version of the classic pork and apple pairing where the apple is incorporated into a fresh broccoli slaw on the side.
Garlic pepper pork chops:
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¾ tsp pepper
- ¾ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried minced onion
- 4 pork chops or about 1 lb
Broccoli apple slaw:
- ¼ C dairy free ranch dressing
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ - 2 broccoli stems (2 C julienned)
- 2 tart apples such as pink lady
- ½ C raisins
- ¼ C sunflower seed kernels or almond slivers
- Begin heating grill so it has time to get hot enough.
- Stir together ranch and sugar. Set aside.
- Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to score the fat on the edge of each pork chop every inch or so. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried minced onion. Generously sprinkle this over both sides of the pork chops. If you're still waiting for the grill to get hot, start on your slaw (step 5).
- Once the grill is hot, put the pork chops on and close the lid. Mine were only about ¾ inch thick and took about 5 minutes per side to fully cook. Depending on how hot you get your grill and how thick your pork chops are, it may take more or less time. They are done once they reach an internal temperature of at least 145ºF. Work on the slaw (step 5) while you wait for them to cook. When you are ready to take the pork chops off the grill, transfer them to a cooling rack and allow them to rest for at least 3 minutes.
- While the pork chops cook, start prepping the slaw. Remove any leaves and dry ends off your broccoli stems then julienne them until you reach 2 cups. I used my mandolin on the thickest setting to slice them then I stacked the slices and cut them into sticks. Core the apples and do the same process you did for the broccoli stems.
- Toss the cut broccoli and apples with the raisins, sunflower seeds/almond slivers, and sugared ranch. Serve alongside the pork chops and enjoy.
Slaw can be made in advance, if desired.
I strongly recommend using Sir Kensington's dairy free ranch dressing. Although I am a huge fan of Daiya products, their ranch dressing is their first product I did not enjoy. I also like JUST ranch but I'm not sure if it's still being produced because I can't find it anymore. Traditional ranch dressing can be substituted if you can eat dairy products.