Using Oven as Slow Cooker
I'm making this recipe:
...but I don't have a dedicated slow cooker appliance; instead I plan to use a 5.5 quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
Given the long cooking time, what oven temperature would you recommend? 300 degrees f?
Maybe 350 for the first stage, and 250 for the rest?
You might consider doing them on the stovetop covered over very low heat. If you do them in the oven, I would cook them at 250. Either way, you'll probably have to increase the amount of liquid and decrease the cooking time.
Cook them on your stovetop in your dutch oven if possible. I'd first brown the chops right in your cast iron D.O., then remove them, throw in the onion, until browned, then deglaze with chicken broth. Add black pepper & thyme and apples. Add chops back to pan, make sure that the liquid mixture almost covers your chops. If it doesn't, add more. Bring to a simmer, cover and barely simmer for an hour. Check your chops for doneness. Reduce your sauce down if needed.
If you must have it done in an oven, I'd do 275 for the whole thing. Don't cook them any longer than maybe 2 hours. Again, check to see if they are done after about an hour and a half.
According to Alton Brown and Jamie Oliver, the oven is the way to go. I tried it two days ago and it was brilliant. The temperature is much more consistently regulate-able, and the heat penetrates the dutch oven from all sides. I got things to a bare simmer on the stovetop, and then transferred to the oven for a few hours, and the results were perfect.
Ovens vary, so you might set anywhere from 250 to 350. You'll figure it out quickly. A hint: while you get your stuff together on the stove top, pre-heat the lid to the dutch oven in the oven so that it doesn't sap heat from the pot when you lid it.
But the key to tough pieces of meat is SIMMER, never, ever boil, not even once. It's a no-brainer to use the oven. Climate control, baby.
I use my oven for slow cooking all the time. I'd follow QueenB right up until it begins to simmer on the stovetop, then transfer to a low oven (about 250, maybe less if your oven runs hot).