I will take this moment to admit; I'm not a huge fan of the crock pot. Yes, it does quite a nice job on Mexican kind of meals (shredded pork tacos, tortilla soup, etc..) but beyond that I have a hard time finding recipes that produce a final result that taste....well not like a big mess of overcooked, tomato-based craziness.
This weekend I had a big piece of pork loin staring me in the face and no desire to do much with it. So I dusted off the old crock pot and in went a few ingredients. What came out a few hours later was surprisingly...tasty. Almost like I had slaved-over-it-all-day kind of tasty. Best of all, even the littlest tyke in the house liked it (a huge fete nowadays).
I served it with pasta although the hubby insists I serve it with mashed potatoes next time~ and I agree.
Give it a try this week. I used pork but I think chicken would work just as well and with a little less cooking time, probably.
I have adapted this recipe from the cookbook my sister-in-law bought me a few Christmas' ago called "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook". This recipe is actually quite different than that one, but I wanted to give it kudos for the inspiration.
Italian Pork & Pepper Stew
1 yellow onion
1 jar roasted red peppers (a regular sized jar from the store. I have a BIG jar from Sam's Club...they are super cheap there. If you have a big jar, just use 1/4 of the jar)
2 cloves garlic (I am officially a garlic non-liker since my last pregnancy, so I never add garlic. BUT I know most Italian food has it, so I am including it here)
A splash of olive oil
2 lb. pork loin cut in cubes or chicken cut in cubes
1 large can of diced tomatoes
3/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. rosemary (fresh or dried, your choice)
A dash or two of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. flour
1/4 cup water
1. Layer the onion, roasted red peppers and garlic in the slow cooker.
2. In a large skillet over high heat, warm the splash of olive oil until very hot. Add the meat (don't overcrowd, you may want to do this in batches.) Sear the meat on all sides. Don't worry about cooking the middle, you are just trying to get some browning on the outside edges.
3. Once all of the meat is browned and removed from the pan, add in the tomatoes, peppers and wine to the skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Be sure to scrape up all of those bits of goodness from the bottom of the pan.
4. Add the spices and pour everything from the skillet into the slow cooker. Cook and cover on low until the pork is tender~ about 7 hours. (Chicken will probably take less time.)
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and water until smooth. Whisk this slurry into the slow cooker and stir to incorporate into the stew. Increase the heat to high and cook, uncovered, about 15 minutes.
6. Serve either in a bowl with some rustic, crunchy bread or on top of pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes.
I am re-inspired to use my crock pot more and am on the hunt for some tried and true recipes. Have one? Please share!