Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pork Loin with a Brown Sugar & Balsamic glaze found over at C & C Marriage Factory. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.
Truth Game: Robyn always takes the heat for finding recipes that involve a crock-pot, but I am all about using one when I can. The convenience of being able to walk away from meal preparation for hours at a time is just perfect for a flaky person like me.
When it’s my turn to look for the recipe of the week I always pick something that involves food I already have in the freezer/house. I buy pork tenderloin at Sam’s Club in the big huge log and cut it into 3-4 separate chunks before freezing. Truth Game: I have never in my life remembered making a pork loin that hasn’t been dry as shit and inedible. My mother throws it in a casserole dish with sauerkraut and it’s fabulous, but my shit is dry, dry, dry. Let me put it another way: The dogs really enjoy it when I make the pork loin because they think they’re living high off the hog (yes, I did just write that).
Here’s my thawed pork loin. Impressive, no?
And here it is after I added the seasonings. Please note that I a) do not even bother working with garlic in the raw and b) my pepper is fancypants cracked pepper that comes from a grinder. Truth game: I use minced garlic from a jar because I do not have the time or patience to mess around with garlic cloves and my fancypants cracked pepper is one of those disposable deals that you buy at Sam’s Club or even better, Aldi’s. There’s no shame in my game!
This is what it looked like 1 hour before it was finished. I admit to being a bit concerned because it appeared to be swimming in a shit-ton of grease. That needed to go. The recipe didn’t mention it, but I saw no purpose in having a grease-filled balsamic glaze.
I pulled it from the crock-pot, threw it on a plate and decided to slice it because I wanted to make sure the glaze went everywhere. Truth Game: I thought it might help out with any potential dryness that may occur considering it was me cooking the pork.
The glaze was pretty uncomplicated and I was, as you can see, pretty sloppy about it. A true food blogger would not let you see that her corn startch blew every where when she was dumping it into her pan. She also wouldn’t let you see one of her favorite spoons in the entire world.
Red rubber spoon brought to you by KitchenAid. This damn spoon cannot be destroyed (yet) and I’m pretty sure you will not find this bad boy at Williams Sonoma. Just saying! I cooked the shit out of this stuff and it didn’t get as thick as I thought it should be. But I didn’t mess with it as I wanted the recipe to be authentic (and that way Jane couldn’t call my dumb ass out for not doing the recipe right).
Action shot! I put the meat back in the crockpot, poured the glaze over it and walked away for an hour. Truth Game: I really did walk away, but that’s only because I had shit to read on the Internet (trainwreck blogs, FTW!). My mom and Rick were in the kitchen so they handled brushing the meat with the glaze every once in a while.
This is what it looked like when I came back.
And this is what it looked like when I threw it on a platter and set it down on the dinner table. I could have made it prettier and put the extra glaze in a bowl, but we’re a typical family that doesn’t really plate our meals and fuck that noise, we were hungry! Truth Game: Because we are a bunch of starch eaters we had baked potatoes and corn with this meat. It, of course, was a fabulous dinner. FABULOUS. Truth Game: We had the baked potatoes (huge restaurant variety) because I did not have faith in the meat coming out right. I fully intended to make the potatoes a complete meal if needed. We had leftover potatoes for a week. Heh.
Truth Game: This meat was moist and delicious. It will most definitely be going into the menu rotation.
When I saw what Nance had chosen for this week’s recipe, I was THRILLED. Not only because it’s a crock pot recipe, but also because it was a pork roast recipe. Since we raise our own pigs, I end up with a LOT of pork roasts in the freezer, and I’m never quite sure what the hell to do with them. This looked like it was going to be easy enough, for sure.
To start with, all you need is a roast, sage, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and water. I had minced garlic on hand, so used that (I see no need for mincing your own garlic when you can buy the pre-minced stuff. Nance and I are clearly on the same page in this regard). Also, the recipe called for a boneless pork tenderloin or regular pork loin. When we have our pigs processed, the loin goes into chops, so I had no pork loin in the freezer. I did, however, have a shoulder roast, so I used that.
Basically, you make a rub with the sage, salt and pepper, and garlic, and rub it all over the roast. Then you throw it in the crock pot and ignore it for 6 or 7 hours. If you’re me, you might open the lid and stare in at it from time to time just for the hell of it.
Do I know how to party, or what?
So I had to put the pork in the crock pot at 7:30 am because I had a morning full of errands ahead of me, and I was pretty sure that if I waited ’til I got home to start it, we’d be eating dinner at 6. Fred Anderson would eat dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon every day if I allowed it – you think I’m kidding, and I am so NOT – so dinner at 6:00 wasn’t going to work for me. The recipe instructed to leave it in the crock pot for 6 – 8 hours, but an hour before the roast is done, you combine glaze ingredients and then brush it over the roast two or three times during that last hour of cooking.
I had all kinds of math to do – how long did I want to cook the roast? It was a small one, so probably 7 hours. Except that when it comes to crock pot recipes, I tend to go with the longest time, so okay 8 hours. Which meant that at the 7 hours point I needed to mix up the glaze ingredients. And then I had to think very very hard to decide that the 7 hours point would be 2:30. Then I forgot. Then I had to figure it out again. Then I forgot that I’d decided 2:30, and at 1:30 I went into the kitchen to gather the glaze ingredients.
And it’s a good damn thing I was early. Because one of the ingredients was balsamic vinegar. I’d checked in the cupboard to make sure I had a bottle of that stuff before I ran my errands (because one of the errands was to the grocery store, and if I’d needed a bottle, I could have picked it up. But I didn’t, because I had a bottle in the cupboard. God, is this reasoning fascinating, or what?)
In the gathering of my ingredients, I realized that the bottle of balsamic vinegar, which had been sitting in the cupboard for god knows how long, had solidified.
And it looked really, really gross.
I mean seriously, what the HELL? GAH.
I thought maybe, perhaps, possibly, that the dollar store (which I can see from my front porch) might have a bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar, but alas it was not to be. Luckily I’m only about 10 minutes from the grocery store AND I was an hour ahead of schedule, so it wasn’t a big deal.
And the glaze ingredients are:
Brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce.
Mix everything up in a small sauce pan, then heat and stir ’til it thickens. Or if you’re me, put the sauce pan on the stove on medium heat, wander off, and then remember about five minutes later that OH SHIT, I’ve got something on the stove! It was bubbling quietly by the time I got back to the stove and was ready to come off the heat.
Brush the glaze over the roast 2 – 3 times in the course of the next hour. Which I did! Then save the rest of the glaze to serve on the side.
Then I let it cool and THEN I cut it up, and I might have taken a bite or two while I was cutting it up, and wow. It was REALLY good!
But what would Fred think? He’s not super crazy about soy sauce, would he like it or not? WOULD HE LIKE IT? WOULD HE NOT? Oh, I was on pins and needles, I really was.
(No I wasn’t.)
Turns out, Fred thought it was really damn good, too! My only complaint is that it didn’t make much (I used a 2 1/2 pound shoulder roast, but a large part of that was bone), we were barely able to get two meals out of it. Which actually, now that I say that, doesn’t sound too bad. But I would have liked to get a lunch or two from it as well, so maybe next time I’ll do two smaller roasts at the same time. There was certainly room in the crock pot!
We will definitely be having this again. Two thumbs up!
- 1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
- 1 teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with ½ cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.
But what was Miz Poo’s reaction? Yay? Nay?
This does look fabulous, btw. My husband loves pork tenderloin, and I love my crock pot, so perhaps I will be trying this shortly.
Miz Poo’s reaction was “Hey! I want some of that!”, whereupon I quickly grabbed it away from her. We don’t need cat spit in dinner. 🙂
I love that your corn starch is so excited about calcium (fortified with CALCIUM!).
And I will admit that we truly did think about having Sadie balance a plate of this roast on her head (ala Dooce’s Chuck), but I actually love my dog and didn’t have the heart to pimp her out for hits. She’s too eager to please (unlike a few cats that I know, MADDY) and my plates are heavy.
And I’m with Fred on the Soy Sauce, but for some reason it hasn’t bothered me in the recipes that we’ve done that called for it. Weird, but true.
I never noticed the CALCIUM! before. Calcium is important, y’know. 🙂
This looks delicious! I do love pork, and my husband usually grills it. Never have tried a crockpot recipe, this looks like a winner.
Let us know how you like it, Maureen!
I have never heard of grilling it. How does he do it?
This looks good! I never know what to do with pork loin. I always buy it because it looks easy, but then it tastes like shit. I will actually try this one. Uh…I mean, oh whatever.
You should try it – it’s really good!
I have to hand it to you, Robyn. You always manage to show me something that I have never, ever seen before. How in the hell did you manage to end up with Balsamic that looks like that??!?!
As a major fan of crock pot cooking with a family full of people who simultaneously love both pork and balsamic, this will be going into next week’s menu plan. I think I’ll avoid showing a plate of pork to Old Man Norman, though. Tonight he grabbed a hot dog out of the pan while I was cooking dinner (I know… positively gourmet!). Last night, he gnawed into a bag of leftover burgers from the grill. I may need to send him to Miz Poo finishing school. 😉
I think I must have bought it yeeeeeeeeeears ago and stuck it in the cupboard and ignored it. Balsamic vinegar will NOT be ignored, Dan!
Aww, Norm. He’s a hungry, hungry man. 🙂
He would have eaten that entire hot dog, too. Fat Boy Simba came in and was curious, so I cut him a piece. He had absolutely no clue how to go about eating it… had two bites and walked away. If I wasn’t already pretty sure that Norm spent a considerable time as a stray, this would convince me. The boy always eats as if he doesn’t know where the next meal is coming from.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago and have made it twice. The first time I made it, I was concerned about dryness like Nance, so I shredded the meat before pouring the glaze over it. It was a huge hit. The second time I left the meat intact and I thought it was still great but my boys liked it better shredded and cooked in the glaze.
I have made big pieces of meat both times and I’ve been using the leftover pork (stored soaked in the glaze) on salads. I’m not a fan of salad dressing so the moisture from the glaze gives a little bit of moisture to a salad, and I like how the meat tastes on a salad.
Oh wow, that sounds like a really GOOD salad, Melissa! Good use of leftovers. 🙂
This looks so good that I want to make it for dinner tomorrow ~ for company! My husband is off to get the pork loin today…hope he gets the right one.
I have a question for Robyn: Did you pour off the liquid from the crockpot before brushing the glaze on? I was wondering because I was thinking there might be too much liquid in the crockpot and the glaze would just kind of “get lost” in there.
I didn’t pour off the liquid before I brushed the glaze on because most of the roast was sticking out above the liquid, but I think next time I probably will because about half the roast didn’t have glaze on it (though I did drizzle the leftover glaze over it, so it was still present in every bite!) 🙂
I think I’ll pour off the liquid then.
When I got home yesterday, my husband told me that his friends were coming for a visit. So, we started talking about dinner, and I told him, “I’m not cooking!” I didn’t even want to think about making a bigger dinner (usually left-overs or something quick like fish for us) after working all day. But at the same time, I thought take-out was not appropriate (we have a very tight schedule so no going-out), so I wanted to think of a make-ahead or low-effort dish…and this came to my mind since I just read it! I’ll let you guys know how it turns out. Thanks again!
I made this yesterday and it was really good. I will make it again and also I thought the sauce would be good on Chicken. I think it would be really good on ribs too. It is a lot like Friday’s Jack Danials.
I made pork ribs on the grill with this sauce today. Big, Big hit with the family.
Awesome! Don’t you love it when you stumble across something that can be used in other ways?
Made this for Monday dinner with the parents & had it for lunch Tuesday & Wednesday.
So glad you enjoyed it, Jai! We had it for Easter dinner. 🙂