Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Caribbean Style Pork: A Slow Cooker Tale

Yes, I know there is a strand of rice stuck to the side of the bowl. Oops.

So I found this recipe from a Southern Living cookbook I got from the library. Yes, another library book, but not one of the library books that was speedy cooking at the expense of the flavor. Or so I hope. When I saw this recipe I was actually intrigued myself, mainly because it was a slow cooker meal. I love slow cooker meals for the convenience factor. You just can't go wrong with dumping a bunch of things in a pot and turning it on. Also what intrigued me was that while the recipe is titled Caribbean, it had all Asians flavors. I mean, I don't know much about Caribbean flavors, but doesn't the Caribbean consist of a vast amount of islands with numerous different cultures? So lets create a pork dish with a bunch of East Asian ingredients and smack the name Caribbean on it, it's a catch all, they must have some East Asian flavors on one of those islands?

Just the smell of putting all the ingredients together for the sauce was so, so good. It was nutty, it was a tad spicy and you could just smell the Orient....err Caribbean. The recipe stated to cook the pork in a skillet first and then cook it in the slow cooker. I didn't understand why it needed to cook in the slow cooker for so long if it cooks in the skillet. I assumed to blend the flavors? So I cooked it in the slow cooker and kept an eye on it and after about 2 hours it was beginning to burn on the edges so I took it out, 5 hours earlier.

The result was a success! Only Hubby ate the dish because it wasn't finished until after Bambino went to bed and it only made two servings. I tasted the sauce and really liked it, very peanuty!

Click here for the original recipe (Southern Living did not post it on their website, but someone else made the recipe and posted it on the Internet.)

Ingredients
2 lbs pork (I bought 1.35 pounds of pork chops and removed fat and cut into pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 green or red bell pepper
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice (I used the juice of 1 lime)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon dry crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped

Directions
1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Cook until pork is browned on all sides. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.

2. Grease slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine pork, bell pepper and green onions in slow cooker and mix.

3. Combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker and cook well.

4. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then move to low and cook for 1 hour. (Recipe states to cook for 5-6 hours on low, so if you use the entire 2 lbs pork and do not remove any excess fat, then cook for longer than I did.)

Amateur Difficulty Cooking Scale: 4
The score got moved up to a 4 because you have to cook the pork prior to placing in the slow cooker. If it was to be all dumped into the contraption, then it would probably be a 2 or a 3.

I'll most likely make this dish again. Hubby seemed to like it and I was not bothered by the smell of the sauce. Thumbs up all around.

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