Do you have a slow cooker? I love mine! My sister bought it for me for Christmas about a gazillion years ago, well, maybe about 10, but it has become such favourite kitchen gadget of mine over the years. I like the idea that you can set it & walk away, but more than that, I love how incredibly tender it can make even the toughest cuts of meat.
Mine is the electric type, you can plug in & set to cook on a low or high setting, meaning you can cook dishes anywhere from 4 up to 8 hours. This style of cooking allows the ingredients to essentially stew in their own juices, sealed in moisture from a sauce & the cooker itself keeping everything moist. The longer you cook the more tender things become. Amazing for cooking large quantities of meat, like a leg of lamb, side of beef & in this case, medallions of pork.
I have a small confession … I am not a huge fan of pork, (except if it’s bacon, then I am a fiend for it!). I find things like grilled pork chops & roast pork to be quite bland in flavour & more often than not the meat is dry & chewy. Now, it may just be the way I have cooked it in the past, but, in short, I just don’t get all that excited about eating it. It was my mum who convinced me to try this particular recipe &, well, she was, as usual, right. This combination of lean pork medallions, slow cooked with the sweetness of fresh apples & sweet potato, then infused with an earthy punch of sage & thyme & closed out with a zesty little hit of orange rind is absolutely delicious!
The meat literally falls apart by the time it is cooked for 4 hours it is so tender. The medallions are bursting with the flavours of the other ingredients & most importantly to me, it is moist. Not sure who came up with the idea of pork & apple together, but, well, GENIUS!! What a marriage, oh & slow cooked apples … drool!!
You could add other vegetables, I would recommend more woody or starchy ones like parsnip, turnips or potatoes. You can softer, wetter ones like pumpkin, beans, capsicum or the like, but just be aware that slow cooking breaks these type of veggies down quite significantly & they can go to mush. If you do decide to use them, put them in towards the end of the cooking process, maybe an hour or so before serving. This will help them keep their shape, flavour & colour.
Here’s how this particular recipe came together for me;
- 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 8 - 10 pork medallions (grass fed if you can find them - they are much nicer)
- 2 brown onions, thick sliced
- 4 cooking apples (granny smiths, or similar), cored & thickly sliced (about 1cm)
- 1/2 - 1 sweet potato (depending on the size), peeled & thick sliced (about 1cm)
- 1 - 2 carrots (depending on size), thickly sliced (about 1cm) - I don't peel mine, but you decide
- Rind of up to 1 orange
- Bunch of fresh sage leaves
- Bunch of fresh thyme
- Nutmeg to sprinkle
- Salt & pepper
- 2 cups reduced salt vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 - 2 tablespoons corn flour (optional)
- Heat butter or oil in a large fry pan over medium high heat.
- Brown the pork medallions an all surfaces - should only take a couple of minutes on both sides.
- Add the onions & saute until slightly softened.
- Place a layer of onion, apple sweet potato & carrot on the bottom of either of slow cooker pot.
- Sprinkle with nutmeg, place 3 or 4 sage leaves & season with a little salt & pepper.
- Arrange 4 or 5 of the pork medallions on top & sprinkle with orange rind.
- Repeat another layer of onion, apple, sweet potato & carrot, nutmeg, sage leaves & salt & pepper.
- Add the remaining pork medallions & sprinkle with orange rind.
- Add any remaining ingredients to the top of the pork.
- Combine stock with corn flour (optional) & pour the mix over the ingredients & around the sides of the pot.
- Cook on low setting in a slow cooker for 4 hours.
- Serve with fresh greens, rice, sauerkraut or as I did, quinoa salad (recipe link in main post).
- Tips / Suggestions;
- If you don't have a slow cooker, then you can preheat the oven to 150oC, (non fan forced), place the ingredients in a covered casserole dish & bake for 3 hours.
- When using a slow cooker, make sure your main ingredients are covered in liquid, otherwise the meat in particular will dry out. Also don't take the lid off if you can avoid it. If you feel it needs basting, do so, but not too often. The heat & steam that gets captured in the cooker is what keeps the dish moist & tender.
Oh & it is especially tasty when served with a fresh crispy salad like my Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin & Fresh Greens. I guest posted this gorgeous recipe over with the wonderful Tara from Gluten Free Hart recently. It is one of my favourite & goes sensationally with this.
Well, enough from me good people. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Are you a fan of pork? Which way do you prefer it cooked?