Holiday Scented Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Rich Prune Sauce
I was looking to come up with an easy do-ahead winter recipe for a dinner party and I hit a home run with this one the other night. Not only is it no fuss, it is also can be a light and healthy dish, by trimming off all of the white fat on top of the pork loin. For a roast I would leave the fat, but by trimming it all off including the sliver skin (see demo), the sauce doesn't have to be degreased and the spice mixture permeates the pork. If you don't want to trim and tie the pork, D&D Market will do it for you. Now that's super easy!
3 lb pork loin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 med-large garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons of Wondra flour (or all purpose flour)
Two 3" sprigs of fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leave or two dried bay leaves
1 1/2 cups pitted prunes
Trim all of the white top fat off the pork loin. With butchers twine, tie the loin every 2 inches to help hold its shape. Mix the salt, pepper, clove and cinnamon together and sprinkle spice mixture all over the pork (this can be done up to one day ahead).
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Brown the pork loin all over until it looks cooked (about 5 min), taking care not to burn the residue in the pan. Remove the pork from the pan and place in the slow cooker. In the meantime, chop the garlic and onion (can be done using a food processor). Tip: Drop the peeled garlic into the food processor while running and continue processing until all the garlic sticks to the walls.
Remove the outer skin and root end from the onion. Cut into quarters and process in a food processor using the pulse button, until fairly finely chopped. Do not process to a paste.
Add the onions to the pan that the pork was browned in. Sauté the onions for 3 minutes or until wilted. Do not brown. Add the wine and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour. Do not continue sautéing or the sauce with thicken and get clumpy. Pour the contents of the pan over the pork. Add the thyme and bay leaves to the slow-cooker. Add the half of the prunes. The liquid should come up a third to halfway up the pork. Add additional chicken stock if necessary.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or the meat is tender, but not falling apart. Remove the pork, cover and let rest. Remove the thyme, bay leaf and cut the off the butchers twine Pour the sauce into a saucepan and mash the cooked prunes against the sides of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining prunes. Simmer the sauce over med-low heat for 10 minutes stirring often until slightly thicken and coats the back of a spoon. Take care not to scorch the bottom of the pan. Season the sauce with salt, clove and cinnamon to taste.
Slice the pork into ½" thick slices. Serve with sauce.