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Braised Pork with Rosemary, Sage and White Beans

Diana and I love our slow cooker.  We both work full-time jobs, with schedules that rarely match up, so it’s incredibly helpful to make large batches of meal-type food, portion it out, and keep it in the fridge for lunches and dinners.  Even before we started following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, it was a regular thing to see it burbling away on a Sunday afternoon as our lunches for the week simmered and our house became unbelievably aromatic.

After following SCD for a while, it became quite apparent that having prepared food around was even more important, so the slow cooker has been getting a lot of attention lately!  This recipe is one of our regular ‘go to’s and is adapted from one found in one of our favorite cookbooks, The Art Of The Slow Cooker, by Andrew Schloss.  I’ll put here the same caveat that I used in the ketchup recipe… While canned tomatoes are on the official ‘illegal’ list, I choose to use them for this recipe.  I believe that when the official list was compiled, it was MUCH harder to find quality, pure, organic canned veggies, and I trust that some of the brands available today are all of those things.  I feel safe using them, and so I do.  I also pay a premium for premium quality.  You won’t find any Hunt’s tomatoes in my pantry.  I’m partial to Muir Glen products.  Your mileage may vary… it’s a judgement call that you are free to make for yourself.  Recipe follows after the jump.

Braised Pork Roast with White Beans

This is a really versatile recipe…. feel free to adjust, add, subtract ingredients as you see fit.  You’ll need a 5-6 quart slow cooker.  This should yield several meal-sized portions.

  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp high-quality cooking oil of your choosing
  • 3-4 lbs pork (I usually use a shoulder roast.  Sirloin and Tenderloin are quite lovely in this recipe, but also quite a bit more expensive.  Whatever you use, make sure it’s rolled and tied.)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup dry white wine (this is not strictly SCD-Legal.  It will be almost entirely cooked off.  Substitute apple juice, white grape juice or water if you prefer)
  • 1 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (see caveat above… you can make these yourself easily enough if you’re worried about using canned.)
  • “some” dried white beans.  I usually use 1.5-2 cups worth.  Adjust to your preference
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 coarsely chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
1- Soak the beans overnight.  Dump the soaking water, cover the beans with fresh water, and boil the beans until they seem ‘about halfway done’.  Strain and set aside.
2- Mix the *dried* sage, rosemary, mined garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and rub over the pork.

Make a paste of the herbs and garlic

Rub the paste into the roast

3- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the pork on all sides (roughly 4 minutes per side).

Sear a crust on the roast

4- Transfer to slow cooker, leaving the skillet on the burner.

The roast should have a nice crust all 'round

5- Add the onion to the skillet and caramelize well, 10-20 minutes.

Don't be fooled... the onions will turn brown immediately, but they aren't done yet!

They aren't done until all the water is cooked out, and they are uniformly translucent.

6- While the onions are cooking, prepare the fresh herbs.

I love working with fresh herbs!

Coarsely chop the sage

Put the sage, rosemary, garlic and parsley in a minichopper and process until fine.

Add a little oil and process until you have a 'pesto'. Not TOO goopy!

7- Evenly divide the pesto and reserve 1/2 for the end of cooking.

8- When the onions are done, add 1 portion of the pesto to the pan and heat through, just a minute or so.  Add wine (or other deglazing liquid) and bring to a boil, scraping the skillet to get all the tasty bits into the mix.

Mix the pesto into the onions

9- Add the beans to the slow cooker.

10- Add the tomatoes to the onion skillet, stir well.
11- Pour the contents of the skillet over the pork, cover, and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork is fork-tender.

It looks like this when it's done.

How we proceed now depends on how you’re serving it.  Is this an entrée for a dinner, the leftovers of which will be eaten later?  Or is this just going to be portioned out and thrown in the fridge?
For an entrée presentation:
Remove the cooked pork to a cutting board and allow to rest.  Turn the cooker to high, bringing the mixture to a boil.  Stir in the herb mixture we reserved earlier. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the beans and distribute on your serving platter.  Untie and slice the pork and arrange on top of the beans.  Finally, ladle the remaining mixture over the pork.  Serve, and enjoy the loving adulation of your guests.
For a portioned presentation:
Clip and pull out the strings on the pork.  Using a couple of forks, or a fork and knife, break apart or cut up the pork into roughly bite-sized pieces.  Stir in the remaining herb mixture.  Portion into storage containers and refrigerate.  If you’re using plastic containers, you may want to allow the stew to sit and cool for a short while before dumping it in the containers.  Melting plastic is bad for you.
So there it is!  If you decide to give it a try, do let me know!  I’d love to hear how it turns out for you.  I’m especially interested to hear about any variations you make!  Enjoy!!!
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