Not much pleases me more than my Crock Pot during chilly winter months. Okay, we don’t have chilly months here in Central California, but it’s 50, and there are two gusts of wind out there, a trickle of water coming from one single cloud, and I’m piled high in two fuzzy blankets, snow socks, and my cat.
When I’m chilly, I want comfort… cozy comfort food. I’ve made pork with kale and garlic a few times before (see my recipe HERE), but tonight, I craved a fruity twist.
So I started with the original dish, then added in some dried Turkish apricots and ground cumin. I also omitted the red wine… for all of you Whole30-ers out there (I know you’re out there this time of year!). It doesn’t even need it anyway- there’s a great deal of flavor going on already. It’s sweet, savory, earthy, spiced… perfect for any ‘chilly’ cozy eve. 🙂
(Want more Whole30 ideas? HERE you go!)
makes approx 4 servings
1.5 lb pork shoulder, chopped into cubes
3 cups chopped butternut squash
1 cup chopped yellow onion
10 garlic cloves, whole
4 cups chopped fresh kale
10-12 dried apricots (I use Turkish)
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary, approx 2 inch
1/3 cup chicken broth, homemade or good quality store-bought
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
optional: crushed red pepper flakes
Prep the veggies…
Carefully peel and chop the butternut squash into bite-sized cubes.
(Long day and looking for a short-cut? Buy it pre-chopped from TJ’s instead.) 😉
Chop kale leaves, leaving any large ribs behind.
Chop the pork shoulder into cubes, approx 1-2 inches wide.
Sprinkle salt and pepper over the top, then toss to evenly coat.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat (I love cast iron for this).
Cook for a few minutes until browned.
(Pork may release some moisture first, no biggie, it’ll evaporate and begin browning soon.)
Meanwhile, chop the onion, quarter dried apricots, peel garlic cloves (I leave them whole- I love whole cooked garlic cloves- if preferred, mince instead), and prep the herbs, cumin, mustard, and broth.
Once the pork is browned, turn heat off, then add all of the above ingredients to the pan.
Stir well, then let it sit there while you begin loading the pot- this allows the ingredients to soften slightly and become a bit saucy before going in. 🙂
Add the chopped kale and butternut squash to the Crock Pot, followed by all remaining ingredients in the pan (pork, onion, garlic, apricot, herbs, broth, mustard, etc).
Cover and cook on high for approx 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 7.
When done, remove thyme and rosemary sprigs.
Stir, then taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Serve up, devour, enjoy.