While I was getting my economy induced gray hairs artfully erased from my delicate dome last week, I came across this recipe in Family Circle Magazine. (When you start going gray you must start reading Family Circle. It’s written somewhere, I’m sure of it.)
This recipe takes a little prep time. It’s not one of those dump everything in the pot and walk away Crockpot recipes. There’s some chopping, and pan searing and simmering involved. But, it is well worth it. And, as you will see, it provides enough leftovers for one maybe two meals depending on how many you are feeding.
A big problem I have had in the past when cooking pork in the Crockpot is that it invariably comes out overcooked. And then I had an Ah Ha moment. See that hi-tech thingy sticking out of the Crockpot there? (Hey, Don’t judge my dirty disgusting Crockpot. It gets a lot of use.) Concentrate on the wire which is connected to the automatic read thermometer I bought for the big deal meals like Turkey and Leg of Lamb which I of course cook in the oven. I’m actually surprised Rival hasn’t come out with a thermometer equipped Crockpot. I found one by Hamilton Beach while I was cruising the Internet. Sure makes good sense to me. If you have one, I’d love to hear your feedback.
I’m glad I hooked that puppy up because the meat was done more than an hour before the recipe prescribed. The thermometer gives you a constant read on the temp and the time left to cook. When I saw the meat was cooking quickly, I switched the Crockpot to warm knowing the meat would continue to cook just fine. The best part about this little gadget is that it talks to you. (And, I work from home so I relish all the conversation I can get.) You can walk away, staying within ear shot of course, and get updates from your imaginary friend in the kitchen. “20 more minutes” “10 more minutes” all the way to the final 10 second count down. Pretty darn handy if you ask me.
I don’t have many porkloin recipes that I actually recommend to be honest. But this one really pleases all the senses. The day I made this was a cold and rainy day here in New Jersey. The house quickly filled with the rich, woodsy smell of fresh sage and rosemary which I enjoyed all afternoon. The pan searing helps the meat hold onto all that great flavor from the garlic and dried sage and rosemary, so every bite delivers a punch of spice. The beans and tomato side turns this into a very hearty dish and as I mentioned before, this recipe provides plenty of leftovers. Meal number two coming up below.
1 teaspoon each dried sage and rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 pounds tied boneless pork loin
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) cannellini beans
1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomateos, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Rub dried sage, dried rosemary, half the garlic, the salt and pepper over tied pork.
Heat half the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; brown pork all over, about 8 minutes. Place in slow cooker.
Cook onion in skillet over medium heat 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add wine; boil 7 minutes. Drain and rinse beans; stir into skillet with tomatoes. Simmer 12 minutes.
In food processor, finely chop remaining garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, fresh sage, rosemary, parsley and pine nuts. Stir half into tomato mixture, then pou over pork. Cover; cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until pork is tender.
Remove pork; snip of strings. Turn slow cooker to HIGH; stir in remaining herb mixture to heat. Serve with pork.
Spicy Sausage with Tomatoes, Beans and Spinach
On night two, I decided to recycle the bean mixture not the pork tenderloin (reserved for meal #3 which I never got to.) So, the recycled bean mixture must have spent a rough night in the fridge because it came out looking pretty anemic. It needed some color, STAT. I had saved a big bunch of tomatoes from the “last chance” rack at Shoprite that day. You know the table where the sad, overlooked and unappreciated veggies and fruit go to live their last few days of life in the produce isle? (More on that in my cheap eats post coming up.) As you can see, that’s a lot of tomatoes for .99 cents. They would make the perfect addition to my pale bean mixture along with some Spinach and we were in business.
6 ripe tomatoes or 2 (14 ounce cans diced tomatoes)
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
3 cups leftover bean mixture
4 – 8 Italian sausages (Hot or Mild depending on taste)
1 tsp. crushed hot pepper flakes (optional)
Chop about 6 tomatoes and sauted them in a little olive oil for a few minutes. (If using canned tomatoes you don’t really have to simmer them before adding the beans.) I threw in about 3 ladels of the leftover bean mixture into the skillet and two hand fulls (2 cups) of chopped frozen spinach. I browned 4 hot italian sausages (double the amount of sausage for 4 people) and then added them to the tomato bean mixture to finish cooking covered on a low simmer until sausage is cooked through. Remove whole sausage and slice. Spoon mixture over your favorite pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy.