Sunday, December 13, 2009

More Crock Pot Fun!

This isn't really a recipe-- just a tip. Today I made polenta in the crock pot and it was delicious! Before I had been stirring over the stove, but I tried this because Ben wanted to go run some errands. The polenta turned out so creamy and smoothe! I used a small crockpot that doesn't even have a low or high setting; it's just on or off-- and it still worked great. I use my kitchen scale to measure the polenta just because the recipe on the package is in grams. You can use the recipe on your polenta package; I didn't make any changes for the crockpot.

Crockpot Polenta

125 g. polenta
750 mL water
10 g. salt

Place in a small crockpot and turn it on. Ready in 4-5 hours, but you can keep it on until you get home!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crock-pot "Pulled Pork"

Hi! Wow, I haven't had a chance to write anything for awhile. I have been cooking though! We had a great Thanksgiving. My friend and I prepared the dinner together at a home we rented in Austin. It was fun having all the kids and enjoying everyone under one roof! It's a challenge to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving in an unfamiliar kitchen, but it went fine. Once we all went camping for Thanksgiving, but believe me, that's another story! Still, after preparing Thanksgiving over three campfires, it takes a lot more than a different kitchen to throw us!

Anyway, the other day I was listening to "The Spendid Table" on NPR and there was a guy talking about how you can make decent pulled pork barbecue in a crock-pot. His recipe included liquid smoke, which he explained is actually an all natural product actually made from smoke and wood. However, it upsets some people's stomachs, so I thought I'd try to make it without.

While nothing like the slow smoked, delicious barbecue we get in Texas, this is a very easy, economical way to make pulled pork and it is quite tasty. The best thing is I bought a 4.5lb. pork shoulder for $7.30 at the local market. Even after discarding the bone and fat, there was still about 3lbs. of delicious, tender pork. If you do the math, that's about $2.40/lb-- about 1/3 the price of purchased pulled pork.

Crock Pot "Pulled Pork"

1 4.5-5lb. pork shoulder roast
1 large onion, sliced thickly
3 T. salt
1 T. garlic powder
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 T. paprika
1 or 2 bay leaves
Your favorite barbecue sauce

Lime wedges (optional)
Mix all the seasonings together except the bay leaves. Rub the pork roast all over with the mixture. Place the onions in the bottom of the crock pot. Place the roast on top and lay the bay leaves on the roast. Pour in about 1/4 c. water down the side of the crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Take the roast out and let it cool a bit. With two forks, pull the roast apart (this will be easy) and discard the fat and bone. You can shred the meat a lot or a little, whatever you prefer.

Pour the liquid from the crockpot into a big Pyrex measuring cup. Skim off any fat. Put the shredded meat into the empty crockpot and pour about 1 c. of the liquid over it. Stir gently. Pour in the barbecue sauce to taste (some people like a lot, some a little). You can serve more sauce on the side.

You can make sandwiches with this on hamburger buns or just serve the meat as is with a squirt of lime over it (optional-- but I think it's delicious!). You will have a lot of meat. This freezes just fine also.

P.S. I didn't take a photo, but pulled pork isn't that photogenic anyway. However, it is yummy!