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Oct 21, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘slow cooker’

Recipe: Cider Pulled Pork

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

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October is a month of seasonal limbo is St. Louis. Summer is technically over, and fall is flirting with us. I know I still have good garden-fresh tomatoes, but I also kind of want stew. This is a good time for pulled pork. Its starring role in backyard barbecues across St. Louis helps me hold on to summer, while the combination of apple cider, maple syrup and the warm spices in harissa fulfills my need for flannel-wearin’ food. Serve it alongside mashed potatoes or with polenta on a cooler day, or if the sun’s out, between a bun with coleslaw.

 

Cider Pulled Pork
6 to 8 servings

6 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 cups apple cider, divided
¾ cup maple syrup, divided
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, divided
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. harissa paste, divided

• Preheat a large nonstick skillet over high heat.
• Liberally season the pork shoulder all over with salt and pepper. Sear the pork about 3 minutes per side until browned, then place in the insert of a slow cooker.
• In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups apple cider, ½ cup maple syrup, 2 tablespoons mustard and 2 tablespoons harissa. Pour it over the pork. Cover and cook on high 6 to 8 hours.
• Remove the bone from the meat and discard. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and discard or reserve for another use. Use forks to shred the meat, then cover and cook on low 20 to 30 minutes.
• Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a saucepot over medium-high heat, bring the remaining 1 cup cider and the remaining ¼ cup maple syrup to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer at least 20 minutes, swirling the contents of the pot occasionally, until it begins to thicken. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 teaspoon harissa paste.
• Place the pulled pork on a serving platter, leaving most of the liquid behind. Serve the pork drizzled with the glaze.

 

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Just Five: Slow-Roasted Pork Tacos

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

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We love visiting our friends in Iowa City, Iowa. After several hours in the car, they always have the Manhattans or martinis at the read, and they also manage to have amazing dinners waiting for us. Our most recent trip was no exception. We walked in to warm hugs, chilled martinis and a feast of pork tacos. If you want to gild the lily, quick pickle some red onions in white vinegar with bit of sugar and salt or add some sliced avocado. Note the lack of cheese: You won’t miss it.

 

Slow-Roasted Pork Tacos
4 to 6 servings

2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. chipotle powder
1 3½-lb. pork shoulder roast
20 small corn tortillas
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 cup chopped cilantro

• Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Mix the salt and chipotle powder together in a small bowl, then rub it into the pork on all sides.
• Place the pork in a deep roasting pan with a lid, cover and bake 3½ to 4 hours, until it falls apart when you pierce it with a fork. Let rest 15 minutes.
• Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in a skillet over medium-high heat until soft. Place on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm.
• Use 2 forks to shred the pork. Fill each tortilla with meat, garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice and serve immediately.

Prefer to set it and forget it? Make this in a slow cooker on low for 10 hours or high for 5 hours.

By the Book: Cynthia Graubart’s Pork Stew with Gremolata and Island Pork Chili

Friday, October 24th, 2014

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I admit, it is possible that I unjustly conflated the slow cooker with the universes of Mad Men and John Cheever’s short fiction, dismissing it out of turn. But I had a good reason – at least I think. After all, my mother is prone to finger wagging about the slow cooker’s dead usefulness in a way that makes me nod vigorously and then instantly forget the advice.

Or it could be because, by chance, I own the same vintage, seafoam-colored Rival Crock-Pot Southern Living columnist Cynthia Graubart reminisces about in her new book, Slow Cooker: Double Dinners for Two. Seeing it as a kind of culinary anachronism, I often left mine to collect dust on a shelf.

However, it’s safe to say Graubart’s undemanding slow cooking tome helps breathe new life into this bloodless style of mid-century cooking. The lushly varied recipes tap fruit flavors and invoke the colorful traditions of Thailand, France, the American Southwest and others.

Most notable is the book’s conceit. Advertising “double dinners for two,” the two-serving recipes are paired together throughout the book with the idea that they can be made simultaneously in the same slow cooker, using separate plastic liners. Each recipe is labeled A or B, with individual preparation instructions followed by simultaneous cooking instructions. The methodology behind the recipe pairings is never fully explained (one of several glaring editing quirks in the book), but it’s a damn good idea, and a good way to prepare several days’ worth of meals without fuss.

I’m a pork lover and went with a (handsomely photographed) recipe for Island Chili, using pork tenderloin and a succotash-esque mix of black beans, tomatoes, corn and mango. Since I had extra ingredients, I doubled the recipe rather than making the Pork Stew with Gremolata recipe that’s paired with it.

The preparation, as with most of the recipes in Slow Cooker, is a cinch. Dice the mango and pork tenderloin (trimming away fat and silverskin), and mix the other ingredients in a bowl with a quick stir.

 

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Add the pork to the bottom of the slow-cooker liner, seasoning it generously with salt and pepper. Then, simply pour the other ingredients on top, cover and set the slow cooker to low.

 

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Six hours later, it was time to tango with my equatorially inspired chili. The pork itself was cooked remarkably well, considering the minimal amount of seasoning required (the beauty of using an inherently flavorful meat). But the other ingredients felt diminished in flavor, even after extensive salting – much like the gauzy, repressed feel of 1960s suburbia itself. For starters, canned beans and tomatoes and out-of-season mangoes don’t have the zing of fresh ones, and Slow Cooker’s reliance on preserved or processed ingredients undercuts its stripped-down ingenuity. You’re better off throwing fresh produce into the pot, along with some of the “jazz-up” ingredients enumerated in the book’s introduction like soy sauce, tomato paste, Parmesan, or any other umami-boosting ingredient. Remember: slow cooking can be as improvisational as it is easy.

 

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Cynthia Graubart’s Pork Stew with Gremolata and Island Pork Chili
2 servings each

For the Pork Stew with Gremolata:
½ lb. pork tenderloin (½ of small tenderloin), cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 small onion, diced
10 baby carrots, chopped
1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup beef broth
1 clove garlic, minced or ½ tsp. bottled minced garlic
3 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1 tsp. bottled minced garlic

For the Island Pork Chili:
½ lb. pork tenderloin (½ of small tenderloin), cut into ½-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 14½-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
¼ cup frozen corn kernels
½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. chili powder
1 mango, diced, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Pork Stew with Gremolata
• Insert liner into the slow cooker, fully opening the bag and draping the excess over the sides.
• Add pork to the bottom of the liner. Season with salt and pepper.
• Top pork with onions and carrots.
• Stir together tomatoes, white wine, broth and garlic in a medium bowl. Pour over pork and vegetables.
• Top pork with rosemary sprigs.
• Reserve parsley, lemon zest and garlic to top finished dish for serving.
• Fold the top of the bag over to one side and push ingredients at bottom of liner over to create room for the second bag.
• Follow directions for the second recipe.

Island Pork Chili:
• Insert liner into the remaining space in the slow cooker, fully opening the bag and draping the excess over the sides.
• Add pork to the bottom of the liner. Season with salt and pepper.
• Stir together tomatoes, corn, black beans, cumin and chili powder in a medium bowl. Pour over pork.
• Top with half the mango.
• Fold the top of the bag over to the opposite side of the first bag and nestle the ingredients of both bags so they are sharing the space evenly.
• Reserve second half of mango and cilantro to top finished dish before serving.

To complete the recipes:
• Each closed liner should be draping away from the other, extending over the sides of the slow cooker.
• Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
• Move two shallow serving dishes or bowls next to the slow cooker. Remove cover and using pot holders or oven mitts, carefully open each liner to and remove the solids with a slotted spoon or tongs to its own serving bowl. Still using a potholder, gather the top of the first liner, carefully lift the bag from the slow cooker and move over its serving bowl. Cut a corner off the bottom of the bag, large enough to allow the remaining contents of the bag to be released into the second bowl. Discard the liner. Repeat with the second liner.
• Allow the recipe being served to cool, and package in a resealable plastic freezer bag or freezer container. Label and freeze up to 3 months.
• Before serving, taste and season again with salt and pepper. Top Pork Stew with Gremolata with the reserved parsley, lemon zest and garlic before serving. Top Island Pork Stew with mango and cilantro before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Gibbs Smith Publishing 

What’s your go-to slow-cooker meat (or non-meat), and the three most important items to throw in with it? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Slow Cooker: Double Dinners for Two

By the Book: Lynn Alley’s Slow-Cooked Grits with Chiles and Cheese

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

For years, I didn’t take a liking to grits. While my Tennessee-born mom could eat a big bowl of steamy cheddar grits with each meal, any time she did, I shot her strange face and judged the lumpy texture and bland color. Now that I’ve grown up – and so has my palate – I know that a creamy pillow of authentic, stone-ground grits beneath a few plump and juicy grilled prawns is one of the most satisfying meals my soul can wish for. So I began doing my homework on how to make the perfect grits and soon came to discover that this was no small feat. Southern chefs spend months – years, even – perfecting this staple of Southern cuisine: a delicate balance of creaminess, grittiness and thickness. A great version takes hours upon hours to execute. And real, stone-ground grits are pretty hard to come by. This was no quick and easy dinner project.

So when I noticed that Lynn Alley’s new cookbook The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker offered a recipe for slow-cooked grits, I thought I’d found the solution to my problem: I could apparently use the quick-cooking grits available at my neighborhood grocery and could sleep beneath my warm down comforter as my shiny new slow cooker did all the work.



Unfortunately, things didn’t work out so well. While the recipe states that you can use instant grits, I so dearly wanted to find the real stuff – but alas, no luck. So I threw a cup of the quick-cooking stuff into the slow cooker with 4 cups of water and a little salt and went to bed, hoping to awake to a beautiful bowl of steamy, creamy grits.



Instead, I woke up to this: a brown, burnt crust that had formed on the perimeter of the slow cooker, a tough crust that had taken shape in the center and a pool of water that joined the two like a moat of doom, mocking my culinary optimism.



After a quick stir and a little seasoning, it was clear that the tough, leathery crust that had formed wasn’t succumbing to the thinner, more watery parts of the dish. Each bite was different, some watery and flavorless, others tough and chewy.



The recipe calls for stirring in some diced green chiles and freshly grated sharp cheddar and then serving the grits alongside a hot cup of coffee. So I did and added an egg fried crisp in olive oil because, to me, breakfast isn’t breakfast without eggs. Of course, I then proceeded to burn my egg, making a mediocre meal that much more disappointing. Guess that’s what I get for turning on the stove before having my first cup of hot, caffeinated liquid gold.



Despite my failure, The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker is still a quality cookbook for home cooks who know that sacrificing meat has nothing to do with sacrificing taste. It’s full of ideas for meals that showcase beans, vegetables and starches in recipes that take inspiration from the flavors of Greece, Italy, even India. And for the busy, working home cook, it’s a good collection of recipes for healthy meals that require very little work (I smell a resolution lasting at least another week!). As for me, my quest for the perfect grits will continue, though next time, I’ll go the extra few miles to get the real stuff.

Slow-Cooked Grits with Chile and Cheese
2 to 4 Servings

Courtesy of Lynn Alley

Grits, a traditional Southern breakfast dish, are often served topped with butter and cheese. They fill hungry bellies and stick to the ribs for many hours. Technically, grits are coarsely ground hominy, and they are white in color, while polenta is ground, dried yellow corn. But in the United States (outside the Deep South), the two are often used interchangeably. It’s best if you can find the stone-ground real thing, but if not, you can use the instant grits that are available in nearly every grocery store or mail-order them from a source that specializes in grains, such as Bob’s Red Mill in Oregon. I recommend using a 2- to 3-quart slow cooker so that your grits don’t dry out overnight. 

1 cup grits
½ tsp. salt
4 cups water
1 7-oz. can diced green chiles
1 cup grated sharp cheddar or smoked gouda (or a combination)

• Place the grits, salt and water in the slow cooker insert. Cover and cook on low overnight, about 8 hours.
• In the morning, simply stir in the chiles, adjust the salt to taste, and stir in half the cheese. Spoon up a bowlful for each person, then top with the remaining cheese.

Suggested Beverage: No wine here, but a good, hearty cup of coffee at breakfast time or a Mexican beer at lunch or dinner.

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press

How do you prepare grits? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Gourmet Vegetarian Slow Cooker. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Vaish whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won him/her a copy of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking. Vaish, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

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