Nothing says winter like a slow-cooked pork dinner. The cold, the snow, it’s February and all we want is comfort food. But this is not just comfort food, a slow-cooked pork shoulder done in your handy dandy slow-cooker means tasty, hands off and easy! Add some nutritious organic apples, apple cider vinegar and earthy spices, and you’ve got yourself one kick ass slow-cooked pork dinner, fit for the most discerning carnivore. Trust me on this one.
Welcome 2017! We typically take part of January to defrost from our frigid Canadian winter and 2017 was no exception. But after some warm and sunny Cabo weather returns reality and that daunting decision of what’s the first blog of the new year on The Mindful Eater. So much so, I procrastinated an extra week (or two). I have a great tea concoction to share, but it just seemed anticlimactic to start the year off with an herbal tea, awesome as it is, don’t you think? Though we are primarily plant-based here, it’s a new year, new cookbooks to explore and hibernation time in cold Alberta. So I’ve bumped the tea blog, the quinoa bars blog and said hello to this light but decadent, slow-cooked pork. Sadly, I can’t take credit for this marvel, but kudos to the Hemsley + Hemsley team for their take on a classic British roast. I’ve made some minor adjustments to the original recipe which pulls the spice level back slightly and shaves a few minutes off of prep, but all in all, this slow-cooked pork dinner is one I’m proud to make for family and friends! And so should you.
Slow-cooked smoky apple pulled pork – what’s not to like? It’s part BBQ, part classic pork and apple and all flavor through a complex mix of spices. I was searching for a dish that both my husband and I would like: rich and meaty for him, while natural with no processed food for me. Check and check.
Not sure what others do to pass time in the depths of winter. Maybe send some suggestions my way, cause if there was no slow-cooked pork, I’d spend my days fantasizing how I could make beach bum a reality. On the positive side, winter usually brings a high tolerance for experimenting in the kitchen (and a higher than normal spend in the Amazon book section). Part procrastination, part creation = good comfort food. I’m not complaining after this fine meal.
This slow-cooked pork has been served in my kitchen with the traditional roster of roasted root veg, an assortment of wonderful potato dishes, a roasted carrot salad and even a light green salad with avocado. Put whatever you fancy with this slow-cooked pork. Winner, winner. 15 minutes prep and about 5 hours on high in your slow cooker. Within 2 hours your house smells amazing and you, of course, are the best cook in the county, not to mention the best wife ever. Fool-proof and makes you look fantastic – so go ahead, invite the friends or the in-laws, they’ll all want more. Thank you, Hemsley + Hemsley!
- 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (remove thick skin along side of the shoulder)
- 3 bay leaves
- 4 Tbsps. apple cider vinegar
- 3 medium, organic apples, cored and chopped into chunks
- Spice Rub
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ Tbsp. ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp. fennel seeds or ground fennel
- 1 Tbsp. sweet smoked paprika
- ½ Tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ - ¾ tsp. chili flakes
- 1 Tbsp. sea salt
- Combine all the spices together in a bowl. With a sharp knife, score the pork all over and then rub the spice mixture well into the meat.
- Put the remaining ingredients in a slow cooker, give them a mix, and place the meat on top. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 8 hours (or on high for 4-5 hours if you don’t have the time). Alternatively, place in an ovenproof casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven (preheated to 325 degrees F) for 6–8 hours.
- At the end of the cooking time,place the meat in a dish and use two forks to shred it. Remove the bay leaves. Place the pulled pork back into the slow cooker or casserole dish and toss in the smoky apple sauce. Switch to "warm" (or turn the oven temperature down lower) and keep covered until ready to serve.
- Tip: Remember not to lift the lid of the slow cooker to check on the pork. You can adjust the flavor after 8 hours, but every time you lift the lid you add on 20 minutes of cooking time!