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.