Leftovers and Gifts

Last month, I wrote about Sriracha Bacon-Wrapped Onions and suggested that the rendered bacon fat from those tasty devils should be saved for another use. Then, the generosity of my great neighbors landed an amazing pork shoulder roast in my refrigerator. Obviously, these two things needed to meet. And here I was with a bunch of great vegetables from my CSA box, too. One thing led to another and I ended up with this for dinner:

Browning roasts before slow-cooking is an often-skipped, but very important step. Sure, you don't need to do it, but the texture and flavor of your final result will go from pretty good to out of this world with just a little time invested in this step. You end up with a lovely, caramelized roast and pan drippings from that process to season your dish. What's not to love about that? Toss in a pile of your favorite vegetables and a bit of smoked paprika and the end of the day will see you spooning this succulent stew into bowls and just savoring every bite.

What to have with this meal? How about a cold beer or hard cider? Do you need anything else? I suppose some bread for soaking up the juices would be nice, although I just mashed the taters and enjoyed it that way. If you want to fuss, put that time and effort into a fun dessert. The slow cooker, generosity, leftovers, and veggies on hand have this one covered. Mmmmmmm!

Spicy Pork and Vegetable Stew

  • 2 T. browning fat (I used reserved honey-sriracha bacon fat from another recipe)
  • 4-5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder roast
  • 2-3 poblano peppers, seeded and cut into strips
  • 1-2 medium zucchini, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 lb. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced into medium wedges
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • Light sprinkling of instant non-flavored tapioca powder, if needed (for thickening)

Heat the browning fat of your choice over medium-high heat. When temperature has been reached, add your pork shoulder roast and brown on all sides. You may need to hold some edges of it against the pan to do this, but you will end up with a more succulent meal because of it. Place the browned roast and all of the pan drippings into a slow cooker. Place all of the vegetables around and under the roast and sprinkle the top with the smoked paprika. Cover the slow cooker and cook the roast and veggies on LOW for 8 hours. An hour before serving, check the liquid around the roast and, if you'd like to thicken it, add the tapioca powder and stir it into the cooking liquid. You can also increase the temperature to HIGH, if desired.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus 8 hours slow-cooking