I have been trying to find good recipes for my slow cooker for a long time. Often, I find that the slow cooker washes out the flavor of the ingredients and leaves me with a meal that was convenient yet bland or mushy. The best slow cooker recipes tend to be those that require lots of prep which, let's face it, defeats the purpose of a slow cooker.
So, a while back I was browsing in Williams-Sonoma and saw their cookbook, The New Slow Cooker. I came home, ordered it from Amazon (it was cheaper that way) and have cooked a few recipes from it. I like that the recipes are different, require some but not tons of prep, and have sauces or toppings to jazz things up a bit.
This particular recipe was pretty tasty and proved to be versatile. I prepped the pork which included browning it along with some aromatics the night before. I then put the pork into the slow cooker insert and refrigerated it overnight. The next morning, I popped the insert into the slow cooker base and cooked it all day while I was at work. That evening, I made the Asian Vinaigrette for the sweet potato chunks while they roasted in the oven. When done, I mixed everything together with some fresh cilantro and dinner was ready quickly and without much mess or fuss.
We ate this meal several different times, once with steamed veggies on the side, once as leftovers, and once in a quesadilla with cheddar cheese. All were yummy and made good use of the pork roast. This would also be excellent with rice or served in a hamburger bun with or without a little barbecue sauce.
A few notes on this recipe...the original version called for butternut squash instead of sweet potato. I used the sweet potato because that's what I had on hand. I used dry sherry rather than sake, white wine, or vermouth because that's what I had. I also omitted the basil because I didn't have any, but I did have some cilantro hanging around so I added that for a pop of color and flavor. I used a pasture raised pork roast which had a fairly thick fat cap. I trimmed most of the fat off before cooking. If you are using a roast from the grocery, you may not need to trim as much.
Pork Roast with Spicy Asian Sweet Potatoes- serves 6
This recipe is adapted from The New Slow Cooker.
3 lb pork roast (I used one with a bone but you can use boneless instead)
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp dry sherry (original called for dry sake, white wine, or vermouth)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 recipe Asian Lime Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
Asian Vinaigrette- makes 1/2 cup
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp peeled, minced ginger
1/4 tsp sugar
2-3 drops Sriracha sauce
For the vinaigrette: Mix everything together except the olive oil. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking until it is well blended.
For the pork and sweet potatoes: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add pork and brown well on all sides. Transfer pork to the insert of a slow cooker.
Pour most of the fat from the skillet and return to the heat. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Pour in the sherry and scrap up the browned bits from the skillet. Stir in the stock and pour the contents over the pork. Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
Before you are ready to serve the pork, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potato cubes with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring several times, for 20-25 minutes until they are tender and brown on the edges. Transfer to a bowl. Add the cilantro and vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let rest while you finish the sweet potatoes. Skim the fat from the liquid in the slow cooker. Shred the pork. Spoon some of the braising liquid over the meat. Toss the pork and sweet potatoes together gently. Serve.