This is it!
This is my last slow-cooker recipe for the season.
It’s coming off the counter and will be tucked away, along with the raclette grill, until fall.
We eat with the seasons and this is the season for grilling, salads and lighter foods.
I know a lot of people disagree with me and say the slow cooker is wonderful in summer – it doesn’t heat up the kitchen, etc.
That may all be true but we just don’t eat that kind of food in summer….
Even the lentils and beans, which I love, will be cooked quickly in the pressure cooker, not in the slow cooker.
Besides, I’n outside working in the afternoons now…. not inside thinking about dinner.
For my last dish I had to do our favorite red cabbage. There was enough of both left for dinner the next night as well.
Slow Cooker Pork and Red Cabbage
Total time: 8 hours
- 2lb (1 kilo) pork loin
- 1 medium head, red cabbage, roughly chopped
- 1 apple, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, peeled and chopped
- 3oz (90gr) bacon, 3 – 4 slices, cut into matchsticks
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 bay (laurel) leaves
- 1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) red wine
- 1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) red wine vinegar – or cider
- 1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) beef stock
- 1/3 cup (3oz, 90ml) apple juice
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs olive oil
- Sauté bacon in a large skillet over medium until crisp. Remove and put in slow cooker.
- Add oil, onion to skillet and sauté 5 minutes. Add onion to bacon.
- Add pork to skillet and brown well on all sides.
- While pork is browning add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker and stir well to combine.
- When pork is done add to slow cooker, nestling down into the cabbage,
- Cover and cook, low heat, for 7 – 8 hours. Turn the heat to high and cook uncovered for the last 30 minutes to reduce slightly (if there’s a lot of liquid).
- Remove pork and slice. Remove and discard bay leaves.
The importance of hoeing (a reprint, but this time of year it’s a good reminder).
There are two kinds of gardens.
The soil is easy to work with and there are no old weeds to contend with.
Our allotment (community garden) in Andorra was like that. Of course, knowing the Andorrans, it could have been sprayed with every commercial weed killer known to man to get it that way…. I choose not to go there.
The weeds are never gone.
There are two kinds of weeds.
1. The annual weed. The seeds blow in on the wind to take root in your fresh new garden.
Annual weeds are easy to control and easy to kill but impossible to prevent.
2. The perennial weed. It’s been in your garden for centuries, getting bigger and stronger every year. You can’t pull it out because the roots go to the center of the earth. When you cut it, with the spade or roto-tiller, it produces 2 new plants for every one cut.
Perennial weeds are almost impossible to kill but can be controlled.
The absolutely very best, guaranteed to work every time, foolproof, simplest way to control both types of weeds is….
Once a week, get out your trusty hoe and…. Hoe.
This accomplishes several things. If your garden has visible weeds:
1. Hoeing disturbs or cuts the annual weeds. No need to remove them. If they happen to take root you’ll get them again next week. Leave them in the ground to decompose. Yes, your garden will look a little messy at first, but it will pass. Why make extra, unnecessary work?
2. Hoeing cuts the perennial weeds. As noted above, not only does this not kill them, but can cause 2 to sprout where one was. Next week, when you hoe, you’ll cut them again. Keep this up and, eventually, you’ll weaken the plant (it won’t get to the sunlight) and, maybe, it will die.
After 2 weeks of hoeing you should not see any weeds, dead or alive.
This is the critical part: Keep hoeing!
By now, the ground is easy to work and the weeds are gone. Wielding the hoe is less work but you may be tempted to quit because it all looks so nice, so pristine, so (as the French say) ‘propre’.
1. The seeds of the annual weeds blow in every day. In one week they may take root, but if you hoe they don’t have a chance to grow. In 2 weeks they do.
2. The perennial weeds may almost reach the surface in one week, but if you hoe you’ll cut them off before they emerge. In 2 weeks, it’s too late.
Once you get the ground loose it takes very little time to hoe. And the loose dirt forms a mulch around your plants keeping moisture in – an added bonus in dry weather.
Two more points to keep the weekly hoeing easy:
1. Try not to walk where you have hoed. I always leave a central path free of planting so I have a hard place to walk to tend the garden, do the watering, etc. Have more than one if your garden is very large. Tend the garden, trimming, thinning, etc. before you hoe.
2. There is a lot more to hoe when the garden is young. If you have done a good job, by the time you are harvesting you are also done hoeing. The plants are big, shading the ground and preventing new weeds from starting. If I spend 2 hours per week hoeing in June, it’s down to an hour in July as the plants grow, and 15 minutes if at all in August. And I have a big garden.
Look at the early hoeing as an investment in easy, weedless harvesting.
Plus it’s great exercise!