Tag Archives: fall

Pork Roast with Apples and Onions

This lovely post on the P-Dub’s site caused some swift action in my kitchen. I wasn’t going to put this on my list of recipes-to-make and let it sit around for months, waiting its turn. I had to make it immediately. So I bought the ingredients and bellowed “Haruzziah!”

All Sunday afternoon it cooked away in the oven, infusing our apartment with the most delectable smells. And the flavors! Onions cooked to sweetness, tart apples, rich, tender pork with its flavor deepened by the beef stock . . . aaaah!

Plus, this is one of those meals that keeps excellently in the fridge and just gets better with time. Granted that the leftovers resemble a pile of brown who-knows-what, but once you take a bite, you won’t be complaining!


( Serves 8 )

3 TBS olive oil
1 3-4 lb pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups apple juice
1 cup beef stock
3 apples
3 onions
2 bay leaves

As you can see, I went ahead and sliced the onion up for the ingredients picture. I was in maximum efficiency mode. Stomachs were growling, hunger was churning.

Core the apples and cut them into wedges.

No need to peel ’em!

Sauté the onions in a large Dutch oven until brown.

I should note that this is optional—you can also just add them raw to the roast. Set the onions aside.

Sprinkle the meat all over with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven, and when hot, sear the pork roast on all sides, sprinkling it liberally with more salt and pepper as it cooks.

I chose to take care of this in the cast iron skillet as the onions cooked in the Dutch oven, once again in the interest of time.

But ideally you’ll sear it in the same pot it’s going to slow-cook in, so that all the flavor is contained.

Looking brown and glorious!

At this point it became apparent that with the size of the hunk of pork and the bounty of apples and onions, the green Dutch oven was not going to cut it. So we made a move that is now becoming strangely familiar . . .

. . . and divided it into 2 Dutch ovens. Double the ovens, double the fun.

In retrospect, I think everything could have fit it the black cast iron Dutch oven, which may be slightly bigger. But no harm done either way! The result was delicious pork, and I have no regrets.

Lower the heat, and add the apple juice, apple slices, onions, beef stock and bay leaves.

Try and make sure the meat is as submerged as possible., then cover and either simmer it on the stove or place it in the oven at 300 F for 3 hours.

You can use this time to crochet, watch an episode of 30 Rock, do some Pilates, or work on your photo album. Or lie in a salivating stupor on the couch, awaiting the moment when the pork will be yours. Though I don’t recommend that last option–it could make those 3 hours feel like an eternity. Here, I’ll make up an annoying poem:

Busy hands make time go fast
so do some work and have a blast
but if you lie upon the couch
you will just become a grouch

No more moralizing, I promise–but that poem just had to come out.

You can also use this time to cook up a batch of wild rice:

When the roast is done . . .

. . . you must examine the tenderness of the meat. I broke this one apart a little, but the other roast stayed magnificently in one beautiful piece. Either way works, depending on the kind of presentation you’re going for.

Remove the meat to a serving plate along with the onions and apples.

But we’re not done yet!

 Yes, it looks and smells delicious–but we’re about to take the yumminess up a notch. Actually, more like ten notches. So cover that meat with foil to keep it warm while we begin the final and imperative step.

Turn the heat on the stove to high, and violently boil the remaining liquid in the pot for about 15 minutes, until thick. Here are some before and after pictures so that you can see how quickly it reduces:

Is this really necessary? someone may ask. (They will especially ask this if the growling roars in their stomach have graduated from kittycat to mountain lion levels.)

And the answer is: YES! This part is essential!

Don’t even think of skipping it.

Think gravy, but even better. This makes the dish. Spoon the sauce over the pork, and serve it all over rice! Only then will you understand. See, I considered skipping the sauce step, but after one bite, I became a true believer.

Spoon it generously, people! I want to see you swimming in sauce.

These pictures can’t possibly convey what I want to convey.

It’s just too brown.

But your taste buds will sing!


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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Yes, yes, I know I recently posted a tikka masala recipe. But this is different! See, it involves a slow cooker. And the slow cooker is something that I tend to forget about most of the time . . . until I remember it. And realize that fall and winter are the perfect seasons to put it to use. Make it work for its room and board, type of thing. Justify the space it’s taking up on the shelf, type of thing.

After reading about this recipe’s delights on a Tasty Kitchen blog post (courtesy of the lovely Rebecca), one chilly Saturday morning in late October, I threw it together. Hours later, as the evening started to fall, it was ripe for the eating. Comforting, hot, and perfect for an evening in, reading on the couch and snuggling for warmth.

Now this recipe involves a little more work up front before the slow cooker takes over–this is not the recipe from your grandma’s arsenal that just has you throw a couple cans of cream-of-something and some raw meat into the slow cooker and turn it on. No offense meant to cans of cream-of-something, old recipe arsenals, or grandmas. With this recipe, there’s some chopping, some frying, and general cookery that took me about 35 minutes before I could wash my hands and let the crock pot magic happen. But you can’t argue with the results–it’s so delicious that it’s worth every second of effort.

You may be asking yourselves: which tikka masala is better? The original recipe you posted or its slow cooker counterpart? Friends, I’m pretty darn sure it’s this one. Heidi, I know you didn’t have great results with the Pastor Ryan’s tikka–so this one’s for you!


(Serves 6)

For the chicken:

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs)
1 TBS ground coriander
1 TBS ground cumin
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup plain yoghurt
4 TBS butter
1 large jalapeño pepper

For the sauce:

4 TBS butter
1 large onion
8 cloves garlic
1 TBS Kosher salt
3 TBS garam masala
1 piece ginger, 2-3 inches
4 cups crushed tomatoes (approx. 42 oz)
1 TBS sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 handful cilantro, chopped

Trim and cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces (on the larger side, since they will eventually be so tender they’ll be falling apart).

Stir the chicken together with the coriander, cumin, salt, and yoghurt until the pieces are evenly coated.

Let it sit for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, grab some garlic. Lots of it. This is not the time to skimp. In fact, it’s never the time to skimp in matters of garlic.

Mince the garlic and chop up the onion . . .

. . . skin and mince the ginger (skinning it with a spoon is the easiest way) . . .

. . . and wash and mince the cilantro. Or you can do that later, since it won’t go in until the tikka masala is ready to be served.

Divide the first batch of butter (4 TBS) into 1 Tablespoon portions:

Melt the first tablespoon of butter in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. When melted and bubbly, fry 1/4 of the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes.

When browned, remove them and put them straight into the slow cooker.

Repeat this process with the remaining chicken (frying it in a total of 4 batches).

This is also where I insert (in an annoying voice, wagging a wooden spoon in the air): don’t try to fry everything at once to save time! It will actually slow down the process and prevent the chicken from browning properly. The brown bits add tremendous flavor, and by frying in small batches, each batch cooks really quickly.

Of course, you could always be a rebel and just dump everything into the slow cooker raw and see how it turns out. I think next time I’ll be a rebel.

Cut the stem off the jalapeño and pierce it multiple times with a knife.

Place it on top of the chicken.

Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When melted, add the onion and garlic, and salt.

Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown around the edges.

Add the garam masala and ginger to the onions . . .

. . . and stir for about 1 minute.

Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar . . .

. . . and increase the heat to high. Stir vigorously, scraping up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, and as soon as it boils, it’s a wrap! Pour it over the chicken in the slow cooker:

Slow cook the tikka masala on low for 5 hours.

Hmmm . . . I really need to clean the front of my slow cooker. It’s looking disturbingly dirty.

Now go have fun. Take a walk, read a book, drink a coffee. Wrap a present or two, do a silly dance in your slippers, and spank your husband (or the nearest spankable person). We’ll reconvene in 5 hours.

. . . 5 hours have now passed . . .

Okay! Good to see your lovely faces again! Hope you all had a blast and half doling out spanks and drinking java. Now where were we . . . right-o!

Whisk the corn starch into the heavy cream until smooth.

Add the cream to the slow cooker and stir it in.

It will look like it doesn’t want to get friendly with the tomato sauce, but just cover the slow cooker again and let it do its thing for 10 minutes, and it will incorporate itself quite nicely. Stir in the cilantro right before serving.

Serve the curry over rice. I made regular long-grain white rice in my rice cooker with a tablespoon of butter and a bunch of frozen peas mixed in right at the end–and it was fabulous.

Serve up the rice . . .

. . . and drown it in sauce!

It’s glorious.

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