Fall is the perfect time for autumn colors, cozy sweaters and wholesome, comforting meals. As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, there’s nothing quite like coming home to a house filled with the aroma of a hearty slow cooker meal. The slow cooker, otherwise know as a crockpot in the Midwest, is a kitchen essential this time of the year. When used properly, it can transform your favorite ingredients into delicious, soul-warming dishes.
One of the greatest advantages of a crockpot is its ability to intensify flavors.
Fall offers an abundance of fresh produce like pumpkins, apples, root vegetables and savory herbs. All of which are excellent for seasonal stews, soups and casseroles. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a rich and aromatic dish that captures the essence of fall.
When using a slow cooker, it’s important to layer your ingredients wisely. Tougher vegetables and proteins should be layered on the bottom, followed by softer vegetables and liquids. Layers ensure proper, even cooking and prevents overcooking.
Additionally, be mindful of the liquid levels; too much liquid can dilute flavor, while too little can lead to a burnt or dried-out dish. Always follow the recipe guidelines for the correct ratio of liquids to solids.
Whether you’re making a classic beef stew, a creamy butternut squash soup, or a spiced apple cider, don’t shy away from adding your favorite herbs, spices or even a splash of wine for enhanced flavors.
Patience is a virtue when using a slow cooker. Set it in the morning, go about your day and return home to a perfectly cooked, flavorful meal. Embrace the simplicity and convenience of slow cooking this fall and let your slow cooker transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary autumn delights.
Get your slow cooker out with this pork roast recipe courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.Happy cooking!
Slow Cooker Pork Roast with Apples and Onions
- 5 lb. boneless pork loin
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
- black pepper
- 3 gala apples or pink lady, cored and cut into 8 wedges
- 2 yellow onion sliced
- 1 head red cabbage sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup low sodium chicken stock or apple juice
- 2 Tbsp. honey or brown sugar
- Melt oil or butter in a large sauté pan (or use your slow cooker if it’s safe to sauté with) over medium high heat. Season pork with salt and pepper and sauté on each side for a total of 4 minutes. Set aside.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a slow cooker and top with pork.
- Cook the pork for 5-6 hours on LOW (about 1 1/4 hours per pound) until pork is cooked through and the fruit and vegetables are fork tender. The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork chops, loin roasts and tenderloin to an internal temperature between 145°F (medium rare) and 160°F (medium), followed by a three-minute rest.