The slow cooker is not just a kitchen friend in cool weather—it is a great tool as the weather warms and you would rather be outdoors enjoying the nice day or even tending to yard work than indoors cooking dinner. In this easy-to-make dish by cookbook author and slow cooker expert Judith Finlayson, which appeared in Real Food, classic Chinese seasonings come together with a fresh pop of orange. Serve with a platter of stir-fried bok choy and a bowl of steaming rice. If you have any leftovers, they will reheat well and make a great sandwich spread with mustard.
Makes 8 servings
4 cloves puréed garlic
1 tablespoon puréed ginger
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1⁄2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
1 3-pound piece trimmed pork butt or shoulder
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons dry sherry or vodka (optional)
2 tablespoons raw cane or coconut sugar
1⁄4 cup chopped scallions
Zest of 1 orange
1. For the marinade: In a small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, salt, peppercorns, 5-spice powder and orange zest. Rub over meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours, turning several times.
2. When ready to cook, combine soy sauce, juice, sherry, if using, and sugar in a bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves.
3. Place meat in slow cooker and cover with sauce. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 hours, until pork is almost falling apart. Sprinkle evenly with scallions. To serve, cut meat into chunks and spoon over pan juices.
To purée the garlic and ginger, use a sharp-toothed grater.
Pork butt has abundant marbling but no outer layer of fat. If the meat has a layer of fat, remove it before cooking. Or, if time permits, when ready to cook, place the marinaded pork under the broiler until the fat browns, about 15 minutes, before adding to the slow cooker. Score the fat before covering with the rub to allow the seasoning to penetrate.
Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 263 (128 from fat); Fat 14g (sat. 5g); Chol 75mg; Sodium 843mg; Carb 6g; Fiber 1g; Protein 26g