…then pull out the CrockPot!
I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but here, it’s been HOT. HOT and HUMID. Our thermometer has been reading highs of 100F/37.7C lately.
When it’s hot and we have our days getting longer, even I, who enjoys cooking and baking and puttering around in the kitchen, often prefer to keep things simple (so that I’m free to enjoy the lazy summer days)…and use my oven as little as possible.
This is one of the times where my CrockPot comes in.
I love my CrockPots (I have two of them, which can be handy sometimes). Mine are just 3 1/2 quart size, but that suits us just fine for most everything we want to use them for. And slow cooker liners really help make clean-up a breeze:
Slow cookers offer a handy, easy way to have a delicious, nutritious meal cooking while you’re off doing something else, and it will do it all without overheating your kitchen, either — which is a lifesaver in this heat — and as Joe Garagiola points out, it’s an economical way to cook, as well!
So yesterday, I decided to try cooking up a lean pork loin roast that I had in my freezer.
I was wanting the traditional pork roast, with vegetables and gravy, that my late Ma-Maw dearly loved, but I did not want to have the oven going, not even at a relatively low 325F.
And that’s when I decided to turn to my trusty CrockPot.
I wanted to keep this meal simple and quick to put together. After I placed the CrockPot liner in my CrockPot, I
- Scrubbed some red potatoes, poked them thoroughly with a fork, and placed them in the bottom of the pot;
- Scraped some carrots, cut them into 3″ – 4″ lengths, and placed them on top of the potatoes;
- Browned the pork loin roast in a skillet and wedged it in on top of the veggies;
- Drizzled in a healthy dose of red wine (I used some Shiraz I had on hand; white wine would work, also, as would some apple juice or water);
- Mixed together a packet of dehydrated onion soup mix and a packet (yields one cup size) brown gravy mix and dumped it all in (adding some beef flavor — either through gravy mix, bouillon, or beef stock — to pork loin roast helps make a richer, tastier gravy);
- Sprinkled all with some coarse ground black pepper;
- Put the lid on the CrockPot;
- Plugged in the CrockPot; and
- Went about relaxing and enjoying my day in our “pool.” 🙂
When you walk in the house when you’re ready to eat, you’ll say “Oh, that smells yummy!” Just add in a green veg to round things out, and maybe some prepared bread, rolls, or crackers, and you’ve got an easy, yummy, delicious, nutritious meal ready in a snap — and without heating up your kitchen.
And for supper tonight? Open-faced pork loin sandwiches that we’ll reheat in the microwave — another cool day for our kitchen and a fuss-free meal for us. 🙂
Crock Pot Pork Loin (Number of servings depend upon size of roast and size of appetites you’re feeding )
- Lean pork loin roast
- Desired vegetables: Suggest potato, carrot, celery, rutabaga — whatever sounds good to you (I used potato and carrot)
- 1 package (yields one cup) brown gravy mix
- 1 package dehydrated onion soup mix
- Healthy dose (around 3/4 cup or so) red wine (you could also use white wine, apple juice, or water)
- Coarse-ground black pepper to taste
- Sprig or two of rosemary, if desired
- Scrub desired vegetables thoroughly and prepare for the CrockPot. I used red potatoes and carrot, so I scrubbed the potatoes, poked holes in them with a fork (to prevent their exploding in the CrockPot), and placed them in the bottom of the CrockPot (place your densest vegetable first). I then scraped the carrot, cut it into good-sized lengths, and placed them on top of the potatoes.
- Lightly oil a non-stick skillet and brown pork loin roast. (You can skip this step, but it will have a richer flavor if you brown it first.)
- Place the browned roast on top of the vegetables. Pour any drippings — there won’t be much! — from the pan into the CrockPot. (This will also help deepen the flavor.)
- Pour in a healthy dose of wine or other liquid.
- Mix onion soup and gravy mixes together and sprinkle over all.
- Season to taste with coarse ground black pepper. Top with rosemary sprig(s) or diced celery, if desired.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (or a bit longer, if a larger roast) or for 4 to 5 hours on high.
- Scrape any mix from the roast that didn’t melt into the vegetables and liquid into the liquid in the pot.
- Remove roast and vegetables to a platter and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- Serve the cooking liquid as an au jus over the roast and vegetables, or, to make a thicker gravy (which is what I did): pour all cooking liquid from the CrockPot into a saucepan or skillet. Add in a bit more wine or water if needed. Bring cooking liquid to a full boil. Mix together all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup or so of water until smooth (I shake mine together in a jar), and pour into the boiling liquid, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer until desired thickness is achieved. Gravy will thicken upon standing. (Note: Amount of flour needed for gravy will depend upon how much cooking liquid you have and how thick you like your gravy; I usually start off with 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour, seeing as I can always add in a bit more flour/water mixture — or liquid — if need be.)