In theory, I love slow cooker recipes. Fix and forget, right? In reality, I am usually disappointed in the results. The meat is bland, the vegetables mushy, and the whole thing watery. But this recipe for slow cooker pulled pork and roasted vegetables changes all of that. It harnesses the one pot meal ease of a slow cooker (though it isn’t exactly “fix and forget”) yet still creates nice browning and depth of flavor in both the meat and the vegetables.
The trick is to interrupt the slow cooking about half way through and pour off some of the liquid that is released from the meat so that it and also the vegetables you later add can get nice and caramelized, as if you had cooked them with a dry heat method like roasting in an oven or grilling. Adding this step means that you can’t just set up the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you are away from home, but the scheduling hassle is worth it!
Just make sure you hold onto the liquid, as directed in the recipe below. It is like liquid gold… well, it is what gold would taste like if gold was actually meaty deliciousness and not metal. You know what I mean. Just don’t throw that stuff out! Put it in a mug and stick it in the refrigerator. By the time the slow cooker is finished, the fat will have risen to the top and hardened. Scoop that off and reserve for another cooking use and warm up the liquid in the bottom to serve with the meat.
The other key to making this dish taste amazing is to add the vegetables at the very end of the cooking. The turnips go in during the final hour and then the broccoli gets added with about 20 minutes left.
Notes for healing diets
- Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP): Don’t use the optional red pepper flake.
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD): Turnips are illegal. Substitute another vegetable like carrots, or omit.
- Low-FODMAPs: Omit the garlic. Broccoli is moderately high in fructans, so be cautious or substitute a lower FODMAP vegetable such as green beans.
- 2-4 lb pork roast (I used a small fresh ham)
- 1 clove garlic, cut into slivers
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 8-10 baby turnips
- 1 head broccoli cut into florets or small bunch broccolini (baby broccoli)
- Pat pork roast dry, then with a small knife cut small slits in the roast. Press one sliver of garlic into each slit.
- Liberally salt and pepper the roast and rub all over.
- Place roast in slow cooker, turn it on to low and allow it to cook undisturbed for about 5 hours.
- After about 5 hours, remove the meat and then pour the liquid that has collected into a heatproof mug or bowl. Place the liquid in the refrigerator.
- Return the meat to the slow cooker and cook on low for another 4 hours.
- Add turnips, nestling them next to the meat so they touch the bottom and/or the sides of the slow cooker. Continue cooking on low for 40 minutes.
- Add broccoli, setting it on top of the meat. Continue cooking on low for another 20 minutes, or until the broccoli is bright green and tender.
- While broccoli is cooking, take the reserved liquid out of the refrigerator. Remove the fat that has separated at the top and heat up the liquid in the bottom.
- To serve, take the vegetables out first and place on a serving platter or bowl. Then use two forks to shred the pork (it should shred very easily) and add the liquid back to the slow cooker or pass at the table.
Shared on AIP Recipe Roundtable.
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