Monday, December 3, 2012

Slow Cooker Pork Bolognese

For some odd reason, I think I have some power over coaxing the weather into a snowstorm. Not a massive shut the city down, 2 feet deep, dig your way out kind of snowstorm. Just something with at least 4 to 6 inches. Something to spread a little holiday love and spirit into the heart of Kansas City. For the last two weeks, I've picked out stories for my little first and second grade reading groups all about snow, snowmen, or snow gear. We've decorated snowflakes, labeled the parts of a snowman, but alas it is 70 degrees outside. Nowhere near weather needed for a sweet snowstorm. I think my powers may not really be working if they were ever present at all. I guess there is always hope, but it is dwindling for any chance of a snow day. At least I have this awesome bolognese sauce for dinner.

This sauce will make you want to get a bottle of Italian Chianti and whip out your white and red checked tablecloth. It is like a little Italian grandmother slipped into my kitchen and worked all day slowly simmering and stirring this wonderful, hearty sauce. Yes it is comfort food, but not terribly heavy on your waistline. I switched out the typical meats in regular bolognese sauces and used lean pork sirloin. Oh, and did I mention that this was all mostly cooked in my Crock Pot?  Mmmm, easy, cheap, and tasty!

Slow Cooker Pork Bolognese
Inspired by Cooking Light

4 slices center cut bacon, chopped
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 bay leaves
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. pork sirloin roast or pork tenderloin
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup 2% milk
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 package brown rice or other gluten free spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsely
Parmesan cheese

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 6 minutes or until the bacon begins to lightly crisp. Add the onion. Sweat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes or until the onion begins to turn translucent in color. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Remove from heat. Add the vegetable mixture to your slow cooker. Add the bay leaves, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Add the pork and set the slow cooker on the low setting. Cook for 6 hours. Then, remove the lid from the slow cooker. Using two forks, carefully shred the pork in the sauce. Add the tomato paste. In a small dish, whisk together the milk and corn starch. Add the milk mixture to the sauce. Stir until combined. Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to thicken the sauce. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Arrange 1 cup of the noodles on a plate or in a bowl. Top with the sauce, cheese, and parsley.


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