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Roast pork, slow cooker style

Slow cooked roast pork

Everyone has made roasts in slow cookers. It’s a fabulous way to make a delicious meal when you have a busy day ahead. And it’s so easy. After all, it’s just prepping the meat and veggies and dropping them into the slow cooker and letting the slow cooker do the work while you go off for the day. Easy peasy, right?

Today I wanted to share something simple with you. Brittany likes crispy potatoes. Who doesn’t? Problem is, the slow cooker doesn’t brown the vegetables. So here is what I did. I cut the soft crackling off the pork and allowed the pork to rest covered with aluminium foil. In a sauté pan, I rendered off the pork skin, making some crispy crackling.

What is a pork roast with out the crackling?

After I removed the crackling, I threw the potatoes in the pan and used the pork fat to brown the potatoes and bring in that delicious crunch. After I crisped up the potatoes, I used the left over juices to make a rich gravy.

It’s a difficult but delicious trade-off. Yum!

Ethically, I’ve used the whole cut, even the fat and juices. For the health conscious consumer like diabetics, pork fat is high in saturated fats and is not the best choices. There are may scientific links between saturated fats and cardiovascular disease. The choice to consume or limit your intake is ultimately yours. Generally I avoid it, but today, I indulged.

 

 
 

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Pork Sausages and Apple Cider

Pork Sausages

While we were at the Abbey Medieval Festival, we saw a pot full of a delicious smelling sausage stew. The man told me very briefly how he made it and I decided to attempt to make it myself.

[ Serves: 4 | Time: 60 Minutes | Cost: $8 ]
[ Brittanys Rating: 4 / 5 | My Rating: 3.5 / 5 ]

Ingredients

500 gm pork sausages
1 bottle apple cider
1 green apple, peeled and diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon rosemary

Method

  1. Place the sausages in a pot with enough water to cover. Boil for 5 minutes until cooked.
  2. Add the onion, apple, herbs and enough cider to cover. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
  3. Serve with hot crusty bread and a glass of cider.

Dinner is served

Observations

  • To me, this was just really sweet. I couldn’t decide if I was eating a dessert or a main. Next time I make this, I’ll use some fennel seeds or star anise to cut through the sweetness. I am really undecided whether nor not I enjoyed it, although I did eat my whole bowl full!
  • Diabetic Note: There is to be scared of here, diabetics. I didn’t have any problems at all with this meal.
  • Ethical Note: Hmm, home-made sourdough with organic pork. Win win!
 
 

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Onion, Sage and Macadamia Nut Pork Stuffing

Oh happy day!

I never shop at large supermarket chains so I often don’t see new products. It just so happens, though, that the kitty litter we buy (which is sawdust which would be thrown away from a sawmill) is only available from Coles. So once every six months, we go buy a couple dozen bags and sometimes I get to check out some new products. Well, this time I discovered that Coles is now stocking free ranged pork. YES! Free Range Pork!

Of course, I just had to sample some so I bought a piece of rolled pork roast to sample. Its been so long since we have had a pork roast (possibly two or more years!) that I was beside myself with ideas. Eventually I decided to stuff the roast, roll it and roast it. The results were rather delicious, even if I do say so myself…

[ SERVES: 5 |  TIME: 90 MINUTES  |  COST: $20  ]
[  JOES RATING:  5  / 5  |  MY RATING:  5  / 5  |  BRITTANYS RATING:  5  / 5   ]

Ingredients

Pork

1 rolled free ranged pork roast
splash of olive oil
rock salt

Stuffing

1 cup breadcrumbs
1 onion, chopped finely
½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped
1 egg
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sage, diced
splash of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Caramelise the onion in a frying pan with a little olive oil.  Add the garlic, sage and macadamia nuts. Cook off until well incorporated and cooked through. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine the onion mixture with the breadcrumbs and egg. If it is too dry, add a little water 1 tablespoon at a time ¹.
  3. Lay your pork skin side down on a flat surface and use a sharp knife to cut into the flesh. Do not cut all the way through. If possible, cut Y shapes into the flesh. Use your fingers to force the mixture down into the slits, packing it as tight as possible.
  4. Once the stuffing mixture is packed on the meat, roll the roast as tightly as possible. Use butchers string to tie the roast into a roll.
  5. For a crispy crackling, score the skin but take care not to cut right through the fat layer. Rub oil into the skin before applying a good quantity of  salt, ensuring it gets right into the score lines.
  6. To cook the roast, preheat the oven to 220°C and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 180ºC and cook for 45 minutes per kilo of meat. Baste ever 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the roast from the oven, cover with aluminium foil and allow to stand for 10 – 15 minutes. This resting allows the juices to settle, the muscle tissues to relax and finishes off the cooking process.
  8. Carve and serve hot.

Observations

  • Note 1: When I made the stuffing, I felt it was a little dry so I added some water to the mix. Unfortunately I didn’t take much note of how much water I used, but Id hazard a guess and say around ¼ cup. The amount of water you will need to make a moist (but not wet!) stuffing will vary according to how much oil you have used, how big your onion was and how dry your crumbs are. Just add a little water at time until you have the right consistency. Use the pictures above as a guide.
  • The meat was so juicy and tender, but that stuffing was amazing! Joe (who is quite partial to stuffing) went as far as to say that it was the best stuffing he had ever tasted. Why, thank you my love!
  • Today, I partnered the pork up with some traditional roast vegetables and some asparagus, broccoli, zucchini and purple carrots. I opted not to use apple sauce or gravy today because I didn’t want to lose the flavour of the stuffing (which was the feature to compliment the pork).
  • I haven’t tried purple carrots before, and just happened to notice them on my way out of the store. I decided to grab some to try them. They had a definite earthy flavour and were not as sweet as a dutch carrot. I quite enjoyed the flavour and it worked well with this dish.
  • Diabetic Note: Balance, dear diabetic friends. This dish has balance! The baked veggies were only baked in a little oil and if you avoid eating the pork skin, you avoid a lot of fat. The boiled vegetables give you nourishment with no carbohydrate content. The carbs in this meal are in the stuffing but I would hazard a guess and say it is possible 2 exchange points (30g) carbohydrates at most. This is diabetic meal planning at its best!
  • Ethical Note: We have avoided eating pork for so long because of the ethical issues involved with pork farming. I had forgotten how much I missed it. I can’t say it will grace our plate often, but once a month should be enough to keep everyone’s taste buds happy while having no adverse effects on the planet.
 

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Pork with Plum Sauce – Gourmet Garden Blogoff

Hmmm, pork. So tasty… And do you know what’s better than pork? Organic free ranged pork! The other day at the farmers markets I bought a lovely piece of collar butt pork from Sunforest Organic Meats. We grabbed some local organic veggies for steaming and Joe suggested the most delightful accompaniments to jazz up an otherwise ordinary meal; Chilli Plum Sauce and Garlic Butter. Welcome to heaven!

Organic grilled pork with plum sauce, steamed vegetables and garlic butter.

[  SERVES: 8  |  TIME: 10 MIN  |  COST: <$4  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 3.5 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Plum Sauce

375 g plum jam
1 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
½ teaspoon Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli Paste
½ teaspoon Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste

Method – Plum Sauce

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and summer until reduced to a desired consistency.
  2. Serve hot but note that the sauce will solidify upon sitting.

Hmm, sauce. Sweet, sticky, silky, spicy sauce!

[  SERVES: 2 – 4  |  TIME: 2 MIN  |  COST: <$2  ]
[  JOES’ RATING: 4 / 5  |  MY RATING: 4 / 5 ]

Ingredients – Garlic Butter

1 – 2 tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon  Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon shredded parsley
freshly ground pepper to taste

Method – Garlic Butter

  1. In a small bowl or container, mash all the ingredients together.
  2. Place a dollop on hot steamed vegetables to add a special something.

Observations

  • Oh yum! This pork and the plum sauce was a marriage made in heaven. In fact, I am pretty sure this plum sauce just became a favourite sauce for our family. These quick, cheap and easy condiments will make any meal taste heavenly. It doesn’t take much to jazz up a normal family meal. Just imagination!
  • The plum sauce will thicken on sitting, but a little heat will see it back to its delicious silky sweet liquid form! It can be stored in the fridge for several days in an air tight container until needed.
  • Garlic butter is pretty much made of winning and can be used in everything from vegetables to bread. You can store any left over garlic butter in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days or so.
  • Diabetic Note: hahahaha…… oh right. yes. Ummm…. Diabetics… I hate to break it to you but… jam = bad. (I know! Here, share my tissues *sob*) There is SO much sugar in the jam that it’s probably best reserved for special dinners. And used sparingly. (I am sure licking the plate clean of any sweet sticky goodness wont add any additional calories…). The butter isn’t good for you either, but its tasty! Again, sparingly. (I know, I know, I’m the fun police!)
  • Ethical Note: If we all switched from beef to more sustainable meats such as pork and poultry, most of our climate change issues would almost disappear. Every small change we make as individuals affects the world we live in, for the good and bad. Make a commitment to switch one meal a week to an organic option, and give the earth that sustains us a bit of a break. One meal, one step, one earth.

Dinner was so awesome that everyone wanted their fair share.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Food: Ethical Eating

 

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