As much as I adore all the fruits and veggies Joe grows, from mid-July until end of September, the quantities of produce I have to process can get overwhelming. This is a "that's the facts Jack" statement of truth, not a complaint. At present, my culinary focus is on eating what we can of the daily harvest and preserving as much of the rest as humanly possible for our cold-weather enjoyment. It's no secret, I've never been a crockpot kinda gal, but, over the past few years I've mellowed. I've made peace with mine. I've learned: a crockpot can be a gardener's wife's best friend. At present, I have more than a few uncompromisingly yummy slow cooker recipes.
My recipe moved from stovetop to crockpot out of Summertime necessity!
This is crazy-easy to make. It takes about 15 minutes to season and brown the pork, plus, 5 minutes to put it, along with the apples, onions and spices into the crockpot. After slow cooking itself and 5 minutes of easy shredding -- you and yours are sitting down to a melt-in-your mouth dinner. Joe and I love it on sandwiches, but, it's also delicious atop mashed potatoes or rice. This recipe is not an attempt to imitate any type of real-deal pulled-pork barbecue with its crispy outer bark and smokey flavor. It's neither Southern nor Southwestern either. There is no dry rub or barbecue sauce involved. This pulled pork is a spinoff of my stovetop ~ Braised Pork Tenderloins w/Apple & Onion Puree ~, which is a spinoff of my mom's pork pot roast, both of which are two of our favorite cold-weather comfort-food meals.
Note: Cut this recipe in half if using a crockpot smaller than 6 quarts.
~ Step 1. The succulent pork is the star of this show and I choose to use boneless pork loin. Conveniently, our grocery stores sell it cut into 3 pound pieces, each with a nice fat cap. You'll need two.
~Step 2. In an electric skillet (or a 14" skillet on the stovetop) melt 4 tablespoons salted butter. Adjust heat to 300 degrees (medium-high on the stovetop). Place the seasoned roasts in the skillet fat side up. Saute until browned on both sides, turning only once, about 8-10 minutes per side. Remove pork roasts from skillet and deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup apple juice.
2 medium yellow or sweet onions
2 unpeeled Granny Smith apples
8 each: whole allspice and whole cloves
2 each: whole bay leaves and cinnamon sticks
~Step 4. Transfer all of the pan drippings from the skillet into a 6-quart crockpot. Add the allspice, cloves, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks to the drippings, followed by the chopped onions and apples. Generously season the top of all with freshly ground sea salt, peppercorn blend and garlic powder. Place the pork roasts, side-by-side, fat side up, on top of the apples.
~ Step 6. Transfer roasts (not the liquids) to a 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish, cover and set aside until cool enough to handle with your hands, about 2 hours. Cover crockpot and allow liquids to remain on the warm setting while the meat is cooling down.
~ Step 9. Using a soup ladle begin adding the liquids from the crockpot to the meat, tossing after each addition. Stop when the meat is very most and no liquid is puddling in the bottom of the dish. I added 4, 4-ounce ladlefuls today (2 cups).
~ Step 10. Place the remaining liquid from the crockpot (2 cups) in a container and set aside. Serve it at the table as a sandwich dipper.
Note: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. As for reheating leftovers, I portion out as much as I need for 1-2-3 sandwiches and reheat them in the microwave. As for freezing leftovers, I am sorry to report that while they taste fine, upon reheat they tend to get a bit mushy.
Have yourself a heaping helping of our hospitality:
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; electric skillet or 14" skillet; large spatula; 6-quart crockpot; 13" x 9" x 2" baking dish/casserole; large slotted spoon; soup ladle
Cook's Note: For one of the most delicious twists on traditional Tex-Mex chili you're ever going to taste, try my "Winner Winner Crock-Pot Dinner": A Scrumptious, Slow-Cooked Sweet Potato and Ground Beef Chili ~. Along with the recipe, which you can find in Categories, 2, 3, 13, 19 or 20, you can read all about the invention and history of the original Crock-Pot!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2015)