Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crock Pot Roast Pork Shoulder

With my husband in the hospital, my meals need to be quick. I usually don't leave the hospital in the evening until I realize that I'm hungry - and although its just a short drive home, by the time I get there, I'm ready to gnaw an elbow off.

If I don't have something planned, I'm doomed. That's when I end up eating peanut butter on graham crackers for dinner.

My best plans involve having something in my crockpot, so it's hot and ready to eat when I get home. This roast pork was perfect. And, yes, I said roast. Not braised. I used my Ninja Cooking System (read my review here) to roast a small pork shoulder roast, and served it with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

This was probably one of the cheapest meals I've made. The pork shoulder roast was on sale, and then I had a $5 coupon. So a 2 1/2(ish) pound roast was under $1. That's a good deal. The potatoes came from a company that was promoting their new breed of spuds - Rooster potatoes. So those didn't cost anything. And the frozen Brussels sprouts were on sale. Cheap. And considering my budget lately, cheap is really, really good.

The Rooster potatoes are very popular in the UK, and according to Wikipedia, they're the most popular potato in Ireland. Now they're being grown right here in my home state of Colorado. Local is good.

Are potatoes really that different? Some people might say that the only important differences are red vs. white, but since I've been buying potatoes from the farmer's market, I've become a bit of a potato snob. The ones from the grocery store are pretty bland in comparison to the ones I buy from the local farmers.

I was curious about these new potatoes, and I gave them the ultimate test - mashed, with just salt, butter and milk. Some people rave about their marvelous mashed potatoes with all sorts of flavorings like garlic or herbs of cheese. There's nothing wrong with that - I like to add sour cream for the added richness and tang. Of course all those additions make the potatoes good. But plain mashed potatoes ... well, they're pretty plain. That's why there's gravy.

The mashed potatoes I made from the Rooster potatoes were probably the best mashed potatoes I made in a long time. Perfect texture and great texture. Maybe it was just a fluke and I happened to cook them perfectly, but they were at least as good as the farmer's market potatoes. At least. Maybe better. I don't know if it's the variety of potatoes, or that they were recently harvested and locally grown, but they were pretty darned good.

But back to the pork roast. This is an incredibly simple recipe - basically just a roast pork shoulder. I slathered it with a Hungarian pepper spread - just slightly spicy. You could use anything you like - mustard, barbecue sauce, or any spice rub you like - or just salt and pepper, if that's your preference.

The Ninja Cooking System has an "oven" setting that allows you to roast meat in the cooker. This might work in a different slow cooker, but I haven't tested that.

Crock Pot Roast Pork Shoulder

2 1/2- 3-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
Sauce/spread/rub, as needed

Slather the roast with your preferred sauce or spread, or sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs, or spices, as desired.

Place on a rack in your Ninja Cooking System (or other similar cooker) Put the roast on the rack, set the cooker for 300 degrees, and set the time for 3 hours.

When the time is up, check the meat - it should be fork tender.

Remove from the slow cooker and let it rest before cutting - I sliced it into cubes, but you could slice it, if you prefer.

The best part about this is that ir's just as good - or even better - the next day.

The potatoes have a Facebook page, if you're interested.