Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slow-roasted Cranberry-Apple Pulled Pork Tenderloin


This is a dish chock full of the fall flavors of cranberries and apples, and also full of the simplicity needed around this time of year, when everything seems to be happening 100 times faster than you think it should.  It's a recipe for a slow day - at least, a slow day for your crockpot.  While it's wonderful to be in the house to smell it turning into its wonderful self, this is one that will take you a mere 10 minutes (possibly less!) to throw together.  Then you can go out for the day, and when you come back, a dinner you'd swear had been slaved over is waiting for you.  The broth simmers with a depth of flavor that can only come with the kind of time your crockpot will be putting in for you with this one.  I didn't actually know this would turn into pulled pork until I opened the crockpot when I got home last night and found it to be so tender that it fell apart when I took a knife to it.  But what a lovely surprise!  I served this with mashed sweet potatoes with a little thyme and agave nectar stirred in and sauteed brussel sprouts with garlic, but you could also serve it in sandwiches if you'd like.  I cooked mine for so long (9 1/2 hours) that the broth had reduced and thickened enough for me on its own, but if you can only cook it for 6 - 8 hours, you can thicken the broth by simmering it with a cornstarch slurry (see recipe below).  I can't imagine this going over badly with anyone, unless they happen not to be fans of pork, of course.  And honestly - if they don't it?  That just means more for you.

Slow-roasted Cranapple Pulled Pork Tenderloin
Makes 3 - 5 servings

1 1-lb pork tenderloin
2 tsp. salt
1 jar Trader Joe's cranberry sauce (or a can of your favorite gluten-free cranberry sauce)
1/2 cup cranberry juice or cranberry cider
1/2 cup white sugar
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 large onion, cut into slivers
2 stalks celery, diced into large pieces

Salt the tenderloin and place it in the slow cooker.  Add the diced apples, onion, and celery.  In a small bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, cranberry juice, and sugar and pour over the ingredients in the crockpot.  Cook on "low" for 6 - 10 hours.  (I cooked mine for 9.5 hours and it was extremely tender.)  Lovely served with sweet potatoes, or you could make pulled pork sandwiches out of it as well.

To thicken the broth, combine 2 tsp. cornstarch with 2 tbsp. water and mix together until there are no lumps.  Place the broth in a small saucepan and add the cornstarch slurry, stirring constantly until it is thickened.  Remove from heat and serve over the pork tenderloin.

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