While there are plenty of recipes you can make in your slow cooker during the summer (pulled pork comes to mind), to me the slow cooker reminds me of fall. I kicked-off the season with this great fall dish – perfect to make on a lazy Sunday. Apparently I wasn’t the only one using my slow cooker that day, as my cousin-in-law, Amy C was posting on Facebook that she was using her slow cooker as well.
The recipe for the pork is pretty standard – some wine and chicken stock. It could easily be used for other recipes that call for shredded pork.
What makes this dish is the combination of the pork plus the roasted butternut squash and how well the squash melds with the flavors in the Asian Lime Vinaigrette.
We served this with one of Ed’s favorite wines – a 2010 Funkadelic Syrah from Sleight of Hand. This wine is great on its own, but worked really well with the flavors of this dish. Only 160 cases were made, so you may not be able to find it, but do try to find a good Washington state (preferably Walla Walla) Syrah – it’s worth the effort.
Wine Pairing: 2010 The Funkadelic Syrah from Sleight of Hand Cellars in Walla Walla, WA or other Washington state Syrah (red)
|Shredded Pork with Asian-Lime Squash|| |
- 1 boneless pork roast (preferred) or pork shoulder roast, 3-5 pounds
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (for pork and squash)
- 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) dry white wine
- 1 cup (8 ounces) chicken stock
- 2-1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup chopped fresh Thai basil or mint
- ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup Asian Lime Vinaigrette
- 1 small red or green Serrano chili, seeded and thinly sliced
- Season pork generously all over with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork and sear, turning as needed until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker – with the fat side up (the fat helps to keep the pork moist during cooking).
- Pour off some of the fat from the frying pan and return it to medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the wine and stir to dislodge any browned bits on the pan bottom. Stir in the stock and pour the contents of the pan over the pork. Cover and cook on the low setting for 7 hours (pork roast) or 8 hours (pork shoulder). The pork should be very tender.
- About 45 minutes before the pork has finished cooking, preheat the oven to 450°F. Divide the squash between two roasting pans and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil (use more if necessary). Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring every 5 minutes, until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a bowl. Add most of the Thai basil (or mint) and cilantro (reserving some for garnish) and the vinaigrette (you may not need all of it). Add the chilies to taste (or place them on the table for individual adding) and toss to coat evenly.
- Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, using a large spoon, skim the fat from the braising liquid. Remove as much fat as possible from the pork. Cut the pork into slices across the grain, then shred with two forks. Spoon some of the braising liquid over the meat to moisten.
- Place the pork on a platter and top with roasted squash (or place on individual plates) and herbs. Serve at once.
- Make Ahead: Place shredded pork (without squash) in a covered, oven-proof dish and add cooking juices (add more than you would if you were going to serve immediately). Let cool and refrigerate until you’re ready to re-heat (can be done a day in advance). Place covered dish in a 350°F for about 30 minutes until heated through. Prepare the squash as directed above.
- Freeze: Place shredded pork (without squash) in covered plastic containers and add cooking juices (add more than you would if you were going to serve immediately). Let cool and freeze. When ready to serve, remove from freezer and let thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place pork in a covered dish in a 350°F for about 30 minutes until heated through or in a covered pot on top of the stove on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. Prepare the squash as directed above.
* Prepare squash with vinaigrette, Thai basil (or mint) and cilantro for a tasty side dish to serve with other meat main dishes.
* For my local readers, my preference is to get my pork from Worrell’s Butcher shop in Malvern, PA (a great “old-fashioned” butcher shop).
Source: Variation of a recipe from Williams-Sonoma’s The New Slow Cooker: Fresh Recipes for the Modern Cook (2010)