Monday, January 9, 2012

Gingered Pork and Pineapple

Another chilly January day and little desire to lift a finger to cook.  Once again our slow cooker comes to the rescue.  After the enormous crown roast we tackled during Christmas, one would think we'd be tired of pork by now.  And to a point we can only reheat leftovers with BBQ sauce, or fry the meat up with chili and onion so many times.  In a departure from BBQ sandwiches and spicy fajitas, may I present gingered pork with pineapple.

This sweet Asian-inspired dish shares similar flavors with the Chinese take-out  favorite: sweet and sour pork.  Only without the soggy  breading were force ourselves to endure when the delivery person finally arrives. 

adapted from BHG's Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes

serves 6-8

The Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder
2 Tbsp cooking oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
1 - 15 oz can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
4 medium carrots, cut into 1/2- inch slices
1 large onion, cut into 1 - inch pieces
1 - 8 oz can slice water chestnuts, drained
1 1/2 cups fresh snow pea pods
3 cups hot cooked rice

The Process:
Trim the fat from the pork.  Cut the pork into 1 - inch pieces.  In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown.  Drain off fat, remove from heat and set aside.

In a 4 qt slow cooker, combine the broth, tapioca, soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger and pineapple juice reserved from the can of pineapple chunks.  Add carrots, onion and pork.  Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.

Prior to serving, if using the low setting turn up to high.  Stir in pineapple chunks and pea pods.  Cover and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until pea pods are tender-crisp.  Serve over warm rice.

The Review:
This dish was surprisingly reminiscent of La Choy's canned chow a good way...and without the crispy noodles.  The sauce had a lovely suggestion of sweetness without being cloying.  The pork,  though a tad dry (in a slow cooker...imagine that) practically fell apart.  The carrots offered a soft bite to compliment the snow peas pleasant crunch.  Despite having almost tripled the amount of ginger from the cookbook's original recipe, the zesty flavor was increbily mellow, verging on undetectable.  Though that could be the remnants of my cold limiting my palate.  Despite that, our entire kitchen was perfumed in its spicy aroma though.

I'd imagine this dish would work equally as well with chicken.

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