The theme for the most recent Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap was healthy dishes, and I was given this recipe for Crock Pot Asian Pork from Jenna's blog. There they were, those two little words... crock pot.
Confession - I have never cooked with my crock pot. Never. I used it once to keep meatballs warm at a party, but that's the most use it has ever gotten. I always figured that whatever I could do in a crock pot I could also do in my Dutch oven, so why bother with the crock pot? And believe me, as I started to cook my swap recipe I was tempted to just throw it all into my Dutch oven because it just didn't feel like I was cooking, but I stuck with it. The pork was amazingly tender and pulled apart very easily, but I'm honestly not sure if I'll use the crock pot more frequently - I love my Dutch oven. I will, however, be making this pork again!
Upon reading the recipe I immediately knew I had to change one thing - the use of splenda. I do not consider any artificial sweeteners to be healthy, at ALL. No nutra-sweet, splenda, "sugar-free" products or diet sodas here! So I decided to use agave nectar as a sweetener. Agave nectar is a lot sweeter than sugar or artificial sweeteners, so you don't need as much.
Below is the recipe using agave, and with a few other minor changes.
- 2 lb lean boneless pork roast
- For the pork: kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger root
- 3/4 cup of water
- Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like to balance the sweetness with something spicy)
- 6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- Toppings: fresh cilantro and sliced green onions
- Season pork with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; brown pork on all sides, approximately 7-8 minutes.
- Combine chicken broth, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, sesame oil, crushed garlic, ginger root, water, and optional red pepper flakes in the crock pot
- When the pork is browned, place into the crock pot
- Cook on low for 8 hours (I only had 6 hours so I cooked it for 3 on high and 3 on low). Note: your pork may not be completely submerged in liquid. If it isn't, flip it every 30 minutes or so.
- About an hour before you're about to serve, remove the pork and shred it. Put the shredded pork back into the crock pot with the mushrooms until the mushrooms are soft and have absorbed some of the liquid.
- Serve over rice and top with the green onions and cilantro
YUM! I loved the sauce - sweet, rich, and just a hint of spice - and the cilantro added the perfect fresh burst of flavor. The pork was so tender and flavorful, and my toddler even loved it! And I had so much fun taking pictures of this pork since I actually had some natural light when it was done, I'm going to share another one with you. Enjoy!
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