Slow-cooked garlic pork with apple reduction

Weekend Herb BloggingI’ve been a huge fan of slow cookers for years. You put something in, you turn it on, and at night? You have dinner.

Remember what it was like when you were a kid and you came in from playing outside and you could smell dinner cooking? That’s what the slow cooker does. If you squint hard enough, it’s like someone else did all the work to get dinner on the table.

Slow cookers are great during the week, but equally great for weekend dinners, when you have errands to run and fun things on the agenda, and none of them involve spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Last Saturday, Steve and I planned to head out for brunch to Lou Henri’s, a local place that’s only open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day and serves great omelets and other breakfast specialties. I took a shower and got dressed, and proceeded to get moving on this recipe – I figured it would make an excellent dinner, and I knew we had a long day of planned activities ahead of us.

I fired up the skillet to brown the meat before throwing it in the slow cooker, and got to work. The meat sizzled, the house began to smell porkalicious, and I wandered out to water the garden. I returned in time to turn the meat, then went out to the living room, where Steve was working on an essay.

“I guess we’re eating breakfast here,” he said, crestfallen.

“No, I’m making dinner,” I said. “I’m just browning the pork.”

Steve’s face brightened. It would be Lou Henri’s after all! Behold the power of the slow cooker. It brings you down, then up again.

And when we got home that night? The whole house was redolent with garlic and onion, and while I let the meat rest, further scented with sage and apple and port.

Roast pork with applesSlow-cooked garlic pork with apple reduction
(Inspired by Betty Crocker’s Slow-Cooker Cookbook)

1 boneless pork loin roast, approximately 3 pounds
1 Tbsp. canola oil
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 onion, sliced
1 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper
2 tart apples, diced
2 Tbsp. port
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage

Put the garlic and onions in the slow cooker. Heat the oil in a skillet. Brown the pork roast on all sides, which should take about 10 minutes. Add the pork to the slow cooker, pour the chicken broth over the roast, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on the low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until pork is tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it rest on a cutting board. Meanwhile, sauté the apples in a non-stick skillet for two to three minutes, until they just begin to release their juice. Add the liquid (including the onions and garlic) from the crock-pot. Add the port, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the mixture reduce by about half. Add the sage approximately halfway through the reduction.

Slice the pork and serve the apple reduction over the meat.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, which, this week, is being hosted by Sher of What Did You Eat? Please check out the terrific recipes compiled in the current round-up!


10 Responses to “Slow-cooked garlic pork with apple reduction”

  1. 1 Kalyn October 15, 2006 at 8:43 am

    This sounds fabulous. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked pork roast in the crock pot, but it sounds perfect, since it’s easy to have it turn out to dry when you do it in the oven. Saving the recipe to right now.

  2. 2 Kalyn October 15, 2006 at 11:59 am

    Genie, came back to say, what if I don’t have port? Could I use white wine or sherry? I’m not even sure I’ve tasted port, but I’m assuming it’s a bit sweet.

  3. 3 Lydia October 15, 2006 at 1:05 pm

    I’ve never (gasp!) cooked in a slow cooker, but lately I’ve been thinking about buying one. Not for convenience, but to explore this method of cooking. I’d be using it mostly for entertaining and for my cooking groups (6-8 people, and occasionally cooking for more). What do you recommend in terms of buying a slow cooker? Size? Features? Brands you’re fond of? I’d welcome any and all advice!

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener October 15, 2006 at 1:35 pm

    Kalyn, I think sherry would work really well, as would a sweeter white wine, like a muscat, perhaps? I do think the sweetness plays nicely off the apples and against the sage. But sherry would be great. Another thought…bourbon would be fantastic. It really doesn’t take much — I like cooking with alcohol because I think it gives things a nice depth of flavor, and the liquor does cook off, especially in a recipe like this where it simmers at length.

    Lydia, I know slow cookers are super-retro, but I have three of them! They’re fabulous tools — I have one teeny one that I use to keep dips or chorizo in cider or things like that warm at parties, a medium sized one, and then a big, 6-quart one with a removable insert. If I were going to just get one, it’d be the biggest one, mostly because of that insert — having a removable one makes clean-up easier, and also means you can put everything in the slow cooker the night before and stick just the covered insert in the fridge, then pull it out in the morning before work, pop it in, and turn it on. One of my good friends has one that has a timer on it, and she really likes that — it switches from cook to warm when it hits the right amount of time, and she says that keeps things from getting overdone. I’ve never had a problem with the overdone part, though, because I use it for things that require long braising times–it’s hard to mess those up. I also swear by it for stuff like barbeque — I cook a huge piece of pork or beef overnight until I can shred it with a fork, then shred it all up and mix in the sauce and then cook it again all day — it’s outstanding.

    My large slow cooker is made by Rival — I’d say anything by Rival, KitchenAid or West Bend would be fine. They’re not super expensive, which is really nice, and they seem to last forever.

    There are definitely drawbacks to slow cookers — it’s not a precision cooking instrument, by a long stretch — but if you figure out some of the tricks of the trade, it can be great. If you want more info or advice, just let me know.

  5. 5 JMom October 16, 2006 at 12:40 pm

    you just made me want to dust off my slow cooker :) Actually, I think I will. It’s highly underused in my kitchen, and I think I’ll start experimenting with it again. Thanks for a great recipe, this will be one of the first I will try out.

  6. 6 Megan October 16, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    This looks fantastic! You had me at Porkalicious…

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener October 16, 2006 at 9:12 pm

    JMom, I’m glad the recipe’s inspired you! Enjoy, and please let me how it turns out.

    Megan, glad you like the looks of it — if you’ve got the equipment handy at your parents, it’s a slam-dunk in Iowa. :-)

  8. 8 prairierobin October 18, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    Hi Genie. This recipe sounds delicious! I got a great buy on pork loin at the Manchester Fareway…guess what we’re having for dinner on Saturday!

    By the way, it’s nice to find another DC transplant to Iowa. We just moved here a few onths back and I’m really anxious to gt my garden planned for spring. Do you have any advice for resources since I’m not familiar with gardening here in this part of the country?



  9. 9 inadvertentgardener October 18, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Robin! Glad to see you stopping by, and good to see you seem to have made the move to WordPress — or is that just temporary?

    The best gardening resource ever in the area is I’m dying to check that place out — maybe sometime we could make a field trip of it!

    Definitely check out the extension service, too — they have really wonderful resources, and they’re all very accurate and helpful.

    Enjoy that dinner this weekend!

    :-) Genie

  10. 10 Lusidvicel December 18, 2006 at 2:03 pm

    Hello, i love! Let me in, please :)

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