We all know that chez nous, we have a strong, strong affinity for the slow cooker. One might even say it’s a deep, passionate love, if that weren’t a somewhat odd thing to say about something you plug into the wall.
However, I do have a bone to pick with some slow cooker recipes. I’m looking at you, Williams Sonoma. As in: the whole POINT of the slow cooker is so you can fix it and forget it and still have a delicious meal at the end of the day. So while I love you, WS, think about this the next time you suggest an ingredient addition at the two hour mark, or a quick pass through the oven at the 90 minute mark, or removing the meat and adding some separately cooked vegetables about 3 hours in. Just, no. No one has time for that. If they did, they’d be actively cooking, and not plugging their dinner into the wall.
Now that the rant section is over, let’s get on with the rave section. As in this pork recipe. Adapted from WS, this is a (really) good one, folks. And it’s a (mostly) fix-it-and-forget-it situation.
Slow Cooked Pork with Spicy Squash
for the pork
- large (2-3 pounds) pork tenderloin
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- big splash white wine or sherry
- about 1/2 cup chicken stock
for the squash
- 1 package pre-cut butternut squash
- olive oil, salt, pepper, crushed red peppers
- asian-lime vinaigrette:
- olive oil (about 2 TBs)
- soy sauce (about 2TBs)
- juice from 1 lime
- sherry or red wine vinegar (about 2 Tsp.)
- pinch sugar
- salt, pepper, crushed red pepper
- Sriracha (about 1 TB)
- big handful basil, chopped
- big handful cilantro, chopped
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and then sear each side in olive oil, over medium-high heat, in a large saute pan. (This is important for flavor.) Transfer to the slow cooker.
- In the saute pan, add the onions and let them cook down a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic when the onions are nice and soft and cook about a minute or two; add the wine/sherry. Scrape up the nice brown bits, add the stock, cook it off for about a minute and then add to the slow cooker, over the pork. Cover and cook on low about 6-7 hours (Note: if you’re using a fattier cut of meat, such as pork butt or shoulder, you could let it roll for longer.)
- About 30 minutes before the pork finishes, get your squash roasting. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large jelly roll pan, spread out the squash, drizzle olive oil, and then season with salt, pepper and crushed reds. Make sure it’s nice and tossed through, and then pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the squash is nice and roasted.
- While the squash and pork finish, make your vinaigrette. Combine all of the ingredients, whisk them together, and set aside. You could also add jalapeno or chilis, if you have them on hand. Reserve a bit of vinaigrette, as well as cilantro/basil for sprinkling on top of the pork/squash.
- Shred the pork in the slow cooker and spoon some of the liquid over it, to keep it moist. Add the vinaigrette to the squash separately, and give it a good toss.
- On a plate, make a bed out of the squash and serve the pork on top. Drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette and top with basil and/or cilantro.
Hello, delicious! The vinaigrette and fresh herbs really make this one pop, so make sure you have that on hand and ready to go for this meal. (After, of course, you enjoy 6-7 hours away from your plugged-in dinner!).