Last updated January 23, 2016
I love filling the slow cooker with rich meats and flavorful vegetable bases in the morning, so I can come home to an elegant, restaurant-style dinner after a long day at work. This Slow Cooked Italian Pork Shoulder is one of my favorites.
The pork has a slight crust from an initial searing, and then, when you pierce through it with your fork, it falls apart because it has absorbed the flavors of mild vegetables and jus (broth) for 8 hours.
It’s all about that base
In Italy, a soffritto is used to create the flavor base for many dishes, including stocks and sauces. Soffritto (or mirepoix as it’s called in France) is a combination of sautéed carrots, celery and onions. In New Orleans, the combination is changed slightly. You’ve probably seen Emeril sauté the Holy Trinity – instead of carrots, he uses green bell peppers with the celery and onions.
I have my own flavor base. It’s a combination of celery, onions and poblano peppers. Poblanos are one of my favorite peppers because they add just a hint of heat. It’s enough to let you know that the pepper is there without slapping you in the face. They represent what Zestuous is all about.
Let’s talk slow cookers
There are a lot of varieties out there. One of the main reasons people use slow cookers is because they’re easy. You can throw all of your ingredients into a pot in the morning and come home to a fabulous dinner.
The problem with slow cookers is that if you just throw raw ingredients into a pot, you’re missing out on some really great flavors.
That’s why I love my Breville Fast-Slow Cooker. It has a sear setting, so I can brown my meat and sauté my vegetables before I throw in the final ingredients and head off to work. Sure it takes a little more time in the morning, but you save time in the end on dishes, and your slow cooked dinner comes out so much better.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons Zestuous Rub
- 4-pound pork shoulder
- ½ white onion, chopped
- 1 poblano, seeded and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- one 14.5-ounce can tomatoes
- ½ cup red wine
- ½ cup beef or chicken stock
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. black pepper
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large sauce pot over medium-high heat (or use the sear setting on your slow cooker).
Combine the flour and rub in a bowl. Cut the pork shoulder into four large pieces. Toss the pork in the flour mixture, and shake off the excess. Sear the pork in the butter and oil on all sides, until brown (about 5 minutes per side). Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the onion, pepper, celery and garlic to the pot. Sauté until tender, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the veggies, meat and remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (or change your slow cooker setting from sear to slow cook). Slow cook for 8 hours.
Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes.