Tuesday, October 29, 2013


So Sunday is to be the day of rest that we all need at the end of a busy week; but if we’re slaving away over the stove making Sunday dinner, it’s none to restful.  Maybe your day of rest is a different day, but for the sake of this post let’s say it’s Sunday. 

That’s why I love the slow cooker; I can prep the meal and forget about it for a few hours; I can even leave the house if I so desire.

I also love that I can use the slow cooker to make a roast for dinner and not have a hot oven heating my house in the 90 plus degree South Florida weather that we’ve had up until this past weekend.  I’m happy to report that we have now had temps in the mid 80’s and I’ve worn close toes shoes (in the form of ballerina flats) for the first time since April…woo hoo!

Now one thing about the slow cooker is that you can’t just throw a piece of meat in it and expect that you’ll have deep, roasted flavor.  Throw a piece of meat in the slow cooker and it will be down-right dullsville, and then you’ll think that all those people who love and rave about their slow cookers must have no taste buds.   

It's a must to take the extra step of browning the pork roast first.   I don’t mean just making your roast just a little golden, but really brown in color so that you can achieve that depth of flavor that comes from roasting or braising.  Once you’ve browned the roast, you can then put it in the slow cooker and forget about it!

And my trick for making little work of mashed potatoes is to use thin skinned potatoes that don’t have to be peeled!  Billy and I only eat mashed potatoes a few times a year, so I don’t feel even an iota of guilt about making them rich and creamy and oh so delicious!

Go ahead and enjoy your Slow Cooker Sunday Pork Roast, but don’t work the whole day away for it!  You deserve a day of rest!

A foot note; you may want to shred the cooked pork roast and add it back into the juices for apple cider pulled pork!  I just love versatile dishes.

Did I mention that you're going to want to have leftovers so that you can make one of the yummiest sandwiches on the planet?  I'll be posting that recipe next!

Here’s what you do.

Season all sides of a Boston Butt or Pork shoulder roast quite liberally with seasoning salt.

Drizzle a little canola or vegetable oil over the pork as well and rub it in.

Get the aromatics together; some onion, celery, carrots, garlic, fresh (or dried) thyme, fresh (or dried) sage, and bay leaves.

Get a heavy bottomed skillet really hot over heat that is between medium-high and high.  Sear the pork in a dry skillet for a couple of minutes on all sides.

Place half of the aromatics in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Pour in some beef or chicken stock (preferably unsalted), and unfiltered, unsweetened apple cider...

...As well as a little apple wine (or apple cider) vinegar, worcestershire sauce, and if using unsalted stock a pinch of seasoning salt and pepper.

The stock, vinegar, and savory herbs keep the unsweetened apple cider from making the sauce sweet; rather there's just a hint of apple flavor, which is perfect with pork.

The pork should be a deep brown color on all sides...this is flavor!

Place the browned pork into the slow cooker and top with the remaining aromatics.

Put the lid on the cooker and turn it on to the high temperature setting.

When the roast has cooked for about two hours, turn the roast over, and replace some of the aromatics on the top.  Put the lid back on and cook for the remaining two hours; for a total of four hours of cooking.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and cover to keep warm.

Strain the cooking juices into a medium sauce pan, and use a spoon to skim most of the fat from the liquid.

Bring the liquid up to a simmer over medium heat, and reduce until about a quarter of the liquid has evaporated.

This produces a thin “Au Jus” like sauce; but if you like it thicker make a slurry by whisking a table spoon of corn starch with a couple of tablespoons of cold water and whisk that into the sauce.

Now that the string has done it's job go ahead and get rid of it.

If slicing is out of the question, then pull the pork apart with two forks. 

 You may even like to shred the pork and add it back into the cooking liquid for apple cider pulled pork.

See those creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes in the back ground?  I wouldn't even have mentioned them except that Billy was actually oohing and aahing over them! 

They're basically the same recipe as for Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes, but since I was out of sour cream I substituted a few slices of processed American cheese.

Put leftovers into a container and spoon any leftover sauce over the top, cover and refrigerate. 

Then just re-heat the leftover roast in the sauce and it will still be moist and tender.

And your going to want leftovers so that you can make this yummy sammie...that will be my next post!


Serves 4

2 ½           lbs.        Pork shoulder or Boston butt roast
¾             tsp.        Seasoning salt, divided use
2              tsp.        Canola or vegetable oil
½                          Large onion, large dice
2              stalks     Celery, large dice
2                           Small carrots, large dice
15             sprigs     Fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried
6                           Fresh sage leaves, chopped, or ½ tsp. dried
2-3                        Bay leaves
2              cloves     Garlic, smashed
1              cup        Chicken or beef stock, low or no sodium
1              cup        Un-sweetened apple cider
1              Tbsp.      Worcestershire sauce
1              Tbsp.      Apple wine or apple cider vinegar
¼             tsp.       Pepper

1.       Season all sides of the pork roast using ½ tsp. of the seasoning salt and then drizzle and rub the oil over all the pork as well. 
2.       Get a heavy bottomed skillet really hot over medium-high to high heat.  Add the pork to the dry skillet and sear about 2 minutes on each side or until the roast is a deep brown color. 
3.       Add to the slow cooker half of the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, and sage.  Also add all of the bay leaves, garlic, chicken (or beef) stock, apple cider, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, the remaining ¼  tsp. of seasoning salt, and pepper. 
4.       Nestle the seared roast of pork in the slow cooker and place the remaining ingredients on top of the roast. 
5.       Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker to the high setting.  Cook for 4 hours, turning the roast over half way through the cooking being sure to replace some of the aromatics to the top of the pork roast again. 
6.       When the roast is done cooking, remove the pork to a platter and cover to keep warm.  Strain the cooking liquid into a medium sauce pan.  Skim most of the fat from the top.  Bring the sauce up to a boil over medium-high, and then reduce the heat to medium and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce by 25 to 30 percent.  This will produce an “Au Jus” like sauce. 
7.       The roast will be very tender; so either slice it, or use two forks to pull it into nice big pieces.

Store the leftover roast and sauce together in an airtight container and refrigerate; and then it can be reheated in the sauce.

Notes:  *If you like a thicker sauce; mix together 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. of cold water and whisk it into the simmering sauce.

**To make a 4 or 5 pound roast, use only 1 ½ times the ingredients and increase the cooking time to 6 hours.


Serves 4

2           lbs.        Waxy potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or red skin potatoes, cut into about 1 ½ inch cubes (no need to peel)
½         cups      Milk
¼         cup       Cream
1          Tbsp.      Butter
3          slices     American processed cheese
                       Salt & pepper to taste

1.       Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover the potatoes with cold water, to about 1 inch over the potatoes.  Cook the potatoes over high heat, until they come to a boil, then add salt to the water and turn the heat down to medium high.  Cook until fork tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
2.       Heat the milk and cream together.
3.       Drain the potatoes really well, and return the potatoes to the pot.
4.       Use a potato masher to mash the potatoes, discard any skin that sticks to the masher.  Do not over work the potatoes.
5.       Return the potatoes to the medium low heat, stir in the butter, cheese slices, salt and pepper.  Add about two thirds of the milk and cream, how much milk you need depends on the water content of the potatoes.  If you need more moisture, then add the remaining milk and cream.

    Remove from the heat and serve.

You may also like:

Apple and Brie Smothered Pork Chops