Slow-Cooked Pork w/Butternut Squash, Garlic, & Kale {Whole30 Optional}

I honestly don’t cook with pork all too often- no particular reason- just didn’t grow up eating it much (except bacon, of course I like me some bacon), but every now and then, I get an itch to switch things up.  This was one of those itches, and man, was it a good one.  You could easily swap out the pork for beef if you wanted, but I really loved this dish exactly as is.  It’s comforting, it’s savory, it’s a bit sweet, and it’s easy to boot.  All things I’m a fan of.  :)


I adapted this recipe from a Williams-Sonoma one I’d seen a while back (it’s here for those who want to take a peep).  I took the general list of ingredients from the W.S. recipe, revised them to suit my needs, added some butternut squash for added heartiness, health, and taste, and then turned it into a slow-cooked concoction instead.  It was delish.  I imagine it tastes nothing like the original actually- who knows- but I have to give credit where credit is due. 😉


The only thing I think I’d do different is double this recipe next time.  I wanted more.  It was gone quickly, and I was so so sad.  Next time I’ll double it, and maybe serve it with some mashed potatoes.  Drool.


You may be thinking 10 garlic cloves sounds like a lot, but nope, it’s not too much at all.  Once slow-cooked for hours, the cloves take on a slightly sweet flavor, not over-garlicky at all.  I actually love whole garlic cloves… roasted, slow-cooked, cooked however.  They add just the right flavor to this dish.  And, extra bonus, they’re super healthy too… gotta like that.


makes approx 4 servings


1-1.5 lb pork shoulder

1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped, approx 2 cups

1 medium yellow onion, approx 1 cup chopped

10 garlic cloves

3 cups chopped fresh kale

5 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary, approx 2 inch

1/3 cup chicken broth, homemade or good quality store-bought

1/3 cup dry red wine {omit for Whole30}

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tbsp olive oil



To prep squash…

Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler


Cut off ends and then slice the squash in half vertically


Scoop any seeds and goop out with a spoon


With the flat side down (to make chopping easier and keep that squash in place),

chop it into about 1 inch cubes

Set aside for now


Chop pork into large bite-size cubes, approx 2 inches long

Mix the salt and pepper together in palm of your hand and then sprinkle over the pork

(or sprinkle each directly on the pork instead- I sometimes premix for even coating- not necessary though) :)


Toss meat to distribute seasoning


Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat

Add the pork


Cook for a few minutes on each side, until browned


Scoop pork onto a plate and set aside for now

You want approx 1 tbsp grease left in the pan, return pan to heat


Chop onion and peel garlic cloves

(Instead of individual sprigs of thyme, I had one big stem with multiple sprigs- either works)


Add the onion and herbs to the pan

Cook for about minutes, stirring often to prevent burning


Add peeled garlic cloves


Cook for a few minutes more, until lightly browned, stirring frequently


Add wine- scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to deglaze

Let it cook down for 3-4 minutes


Liquid will evaporate by about half


Add the sauce (along with all herbs, onions, and garlic) to the Crock Pot

with the chicken broth, kale, squash, and pork

Toss everything together


Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours


Once done, remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs

Season with extra salt and pepper, to taste, if desired


Serve over rice, zucchini noodles, mashed potatoes, or whatever else you may want…



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About Me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!

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