Saturday, September 3, 2011

Super Easy Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

My step-mother-in-law (love you, Joyce!) used to make a great slow-cooker pork for Sunday dinner when the family would go to visit her and dad in Ramona. (Unfortunately for us, she moved to Texas and took her yummy down home cooking with her.) Joyce said she just threw it in with some water and a package of onion soup mix and cooked it, but it sure didn't taste that way. I always thought it was something special. The meat was juicy without being yet, and came apart in chucks just the right size. So, finally, I decided I would believe her, that it was really that easy, and make her famous slow-cooker pork for dinner.

Well. I did it. And I have to say (and my husband agrees), that mine was just as good as hers, and maybe even better!

Here is what I did, and what you can do to update this old family classic and stand-by. Feel free to tweak this to make it your something special. Think of this dish as your After Church/Work/Soccer Practice/Ballet Class/Carpool/Or Whatever Pork Tenderloin

1. In the crockpot your going to cook your pork in, add 1 cup of chicken broth. Homemade is best, but low-sodium from the store will do just fine.

2. To the chicken broth add 1 package of brown onion soup mix, the type typically use to make onion dip. Next add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix this up and let sit while you work on Step 3.

3. In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil, I like olive oil. Pat the pork dry with a paper towel and add the pork to the hot grease. Let the pork sir undisturbed for several minutes to brown the outsides to give the meat some color. Your're not trying to cook it. Just give it some color so you don't pull out a monotone piece of meat later on.

4. Once the meat is lightly browned remove it from the pan and lower it into the chicken broth and onion soup mix. Add more chicken broth until the meat is covered. You may also add some water in place of broth, if you so desire.

5. Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Test meat for doneness. The best way to see if the pork is cooked through is to use an instant read thermometer. Test the meat in the very center. The thermometer should read 145 degrees. (You can find inexpensive instant read thermometers at restaurant supply stores. They also sell them in the baking aisle of most grocery stores and in the cooking section of most department stores as well as many discount stores such as Target and Walmart.) If you don't have a thermometer, use 2 forks to see if the meat is done. The meat should flake apart and there should be no pink inside.

The pork is great with mash potatoes or even a side of rice. Add a bag of salad and you have an easy dinner for the family that only requires the minimum of prep.

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