Friday, August 23, 2013

Slow Cooker Italian Pork Roast from The Clothes Make the Girl

It's hotter than heck here in Austin, Texas and I'm not liking the idea of turning the oven on at all. I had a pork roast to cook and decided that my slow cooker was the way to go.  After a little searching, I settled on this Slow Cooker Italian Pork Roast from Melissa Joulwan's The Clothes Make the Girl.  I don't know about you but I am super excited about Well Fed 2!  

I gathered my ingredients.  At first, I thought I'd use my Penzey's Italian blend but then opted after taking the ingredients picture to mix up my own blend using Melissa's instructions.  I didn't want anyone not to try this because they don't have Penzey's.  Of course, I didn't have any rosemary, since I'm not a huge rosemary fan, so I subbed a dried sage.  Melissa seems to encourage people to experiment, so I figured this substitution wouldn't insult the recipe, much.  

First, I sliced the garlic into slivers.  

Then, I carefully took a sharp paring knife and cut slits to insert the garlic.  

 I tried to get garlic all over the roast.  

Garlic studded roast. 

Next, I mixed up my spice blend, noted above, with the salt and coated the roast with it.  

I put the roast into the slow cooker crock and set it to cook on low for 16 hours.  Yes. 16 hours.  

At about 8 hours, I checked on the roast and following Melissa's instructions, I removed the cooking liquid. 

Instead of using a spoon, trying to remove the roast, or pouring the liquid off, I decided to use a turkey baster to remove the liquid.  This seemed like a safe option to me.  

I removed just over 2 cups of liquid and from the cooker.  I put the lid back on and let it continue to cook.   I stored this liquid in the refrigerator.  After it chilled, I removed the solid fat from the top.  This will be sauce for the meat when its done.  

I started this roast a bit late in the morning and didn't really think about the fact that 16 hours would have the roast done around midnight.  At about 10:45 PM while reading the comments to the recipe, I realized that because my roast was smaller than the one that Melissa used, it would likely be done in less than 16 hours.  I decided to take it out.  

I carefully used a large turner to get the roast out in one piece.  It was ready to fall apart.  If I wasn't taking pictures, I wouldn't care, but I'll go the extra mile for you.  

I cut and removed the string that was holding the roast together.  I barely had to touch it with my fork and it fell apart.  Lovely.  

A perfect pork roast.
Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients:  I love that Melissa gave a non-Penzey's option for making your own Italian spice blend.  You should be able to find all of the ingredients needed for this recipe at your "big box" grocery store.  

Preparation and Cooking Time:  It took me about 12 minutes to get the roast into the slow cooker.  I cooked my 4.68 pound roast for just about 14 hours and 45 minutes.  This was perfect for my roast.  Make sure you plan out your time so you're not up later than you'd like waiting on pork goodness.  

Clean Up:  Clean up was super easy!  I pre-washed my slow cooker crock and put it in the dishwasher. Everything else went into the dishwasher.  

The Paleo Review:  Thumbs Up!  This roast turned out so juicy and tender.  The herbs complement the natural flavor of the roast.  I loved the texture that removing the cooking liquid gave this roast. Often, I don't like the texture of slow cooked meats as its too soggy.  This roast was juicy but not soggy.  The outside of the roast had a great crust to it.  Don't skip that step if you can manage it time-wise!

The next time I make this I'll start it at night so that it will be done at a reasonable hour.  Bad planning on my part, but if you're going to lose sleep, good pork isn't such a bad reason.  

This will be in my regular recipe rotation.  Did I mention this roast was a part of Melissa's own AIP experiment? Well, it was!  Simple, easy, yum!