Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Recipe: Crock-Pot Cranicot Pork Loin (and my New Love: Sweet Potato Queens)

Yep.  I've been a bit quiet lately, I know.  I think I've finally recovered from Thanksgiving and now Christmas Shopping Madness is upon us (Thank Gawd for Amazon and my new "boyfriend" who stops by, with alarming frequency, in his big brown truck!)...

The leftover turkey + a little dressing + sweet potato guts + green bean casserole + leftover gravy + whatever the hell else I could find in the fridge/freezer/cupboards ended up inside a MOST delicious Turkey Pot Pie.  Sadly, no "recipe" to share, its basically just a grab-whatever-sounds-good kinda recipe that started out with fresh chopped onions carrots and celery, sauteed in olive oil.  Then leftover turkey (and assorted "stuff") tossed into a medium saucepan and heated up (with just enough chicken broth to keep it "soupy").  Then dump everything into a 9" frozen pie crust, cover with rolled 'fridgerator pie-crust and bake at 425* for 15 mins, then reduce to 375* and bake 'til golden brown (maybe 30 mins?  I didn't keep track - sorry!).

Bottom Line: It was delicious and barely lasted 24 hours!

Added Bonus: I made enough "guts" for two pies, so I glorped the excess into a ziplock baggie and tossed it into the freezer for future pie-making...

Okay, now onto the Recipe du Jour...

So I have a new literary addiction. Initially, I got hooked because Amazon Kindle has these ever-changing specials for cheap reads, right?  Whenever I go on vacation, I like to load-up my Kindle with lots of light reading, so I browsed the discounted book selections and stumbled onto: "Fat is the new 30:  The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Coping with (the crappy parts of) Life."   Honestly, I couldn't pass it up (I think it was like $2-3).  Well, I read it and literally laughed my @$$ off while reading it on the plane.  So now I am hooked on Jill Connor Browne and all of the Sweet Potato Queens' books.

I've read 3 of them, so far - and I can't seem to get enough!  I'm not gonna bother doing a Book Review - but you can get the general gist of the books by reading the Amazon reviews.  Just trust me: They are freaking hysterical - and light enough that you can set it down and pick it up a week or so later, and continue reading without feeling "lost."

Added bonus: She always shares SINFULLY delicious-sounding recipes - most of which I will never try (lots and lots of sugary-sweet/diabetic-coma-inducing desserts!).

The last book I read was "The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel" and, at the end, she makes mention of her dream of one day opening a restaurant that only serves "Funeral Food."  Now coming from MY background (my ancestors crossed the plains in covered wagons and settled in Utah - there's a clue!), Funeral Food does NOT sound very appetizing - since it invariably involves Tuna Casserole and at least one dish made from Lime Jell-O.

I'm guessing that people from the South have it a bit better in the Funeral Food realm!

Anyway, I decided to attempt one of her recipes today and...  So far, so good!

I don't want to be guilty of plagiarism, so before I post (my interpretation) of the recipe, I wanted to see if Google was forthcoming... And it was!  Original Recipe here: "Who Croaked? Crock-Pot Pork"

Talk about a Win-Win!  Pork AND Crock-Pot?  Yeah, sign me up!

That said, I give FULL CREDIT to the Sweet Potato Queens for this recipe - but I *did* tweak-it-up a bit. (I just can't help myself!!!)

QT's Crock-Pot Cranicot Pork Loin
Adapted from "The Sweet Potato Queens' First Big-Ass Novel"


  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 cup fresh white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 stalks chopped celery 
  • 14 oz can of whole-berry cranberry sauce (orig recipe called for a 16 oz can, but I'm guessing that Cranberry Sauce is going the way of Toilet Paper and "1/2 Gallons" of Ice Cream: Ever-Shinking  Bastitches!!!)
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • Couple handfuls of Craisins (maybe 1/2 cup?)
  • 1 cup Apricot Nectar (Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find Apricot nectar that ISN'T sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup???) (Shame on you, Kerns!  I always considered you "Healthy!" NOTTT)
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 lb pork loin
  • Apricot Jam (optional - to glaze the meat toward the end)
  • 1-2 TBS corn starch
  • 1-2 TBS water
  1. Dump your chopped veggies into the crock pot (I'm considering mushrooms a veggie!).
  2. Dump your can of cranberry sauce on top of the veggies
  3. Add in your chopped apricots + Craisins and nectar, start stirring it up.
  4. Add sweetener and spices, to taste (give it a sample to make sure you like it!)
  5. Place your pork loin on top of all that, and spoon the sauce and veggies over it 'til nicely coated.
  6. Cook in Crock-Pot on low for 6-8 hours
  7. About halfway thru cooking, turn the pork loin over
  8. Toward the end of cooking, turn the loin over again and smear it with a little apricot jam to give it a bit of a glaze
  9. If the sauce seems too runny, mix some corn starch with water and stir it into the sauce 'til it thickens to your liking.
That's as far as I've gotten, so far.  I tasted the sauce and it is AMAZING!!!  Kinda reminiscent of Sweet 'n Sour pork - only better!  Depending on how it comes out, I may end up adding a couple-three TBS of home-made apricot jam as a final glaze...

I'll report back (hopefully with pictures) later.  Just wanted to type it out while it was still fresh in my mind!

* * * * *


Okay, I did make a few additions:  Apricot Jam (preferably home-made) smeared on the pork loin near the end of cooking - to give it a glaze.  And corn starch + water to thicken the sauce a bit.

It is, indeed, a tasty dish!  Definitely got a Sweet 'n Sour vibe to it (which is good), and the addition of the dry mustard kept it from tasting too much like Chinese food.  Although you could omit the mustard and maybe add-in some canned pineapple and fresh bell peppers if you wanted a more "Asian" vibe.  It would be quite tasty over rice (per the SPQ's recommendation), but I had some pre-made mashed 'taters in the fridge - and it was fine with that.

Final bit of disclosure:  Even though I have labeled this post "Spreckles" - this really wasn't Spreckles at all.  How sad is that?!  I've got slightly less than half a pig in the freezer, and I had to BUY a pork loin at the grocery store (:::GASP:::).  Actually, we didn't get a pork loin from Spreckles b/c we opted for pork chops.  I bet I could make this again - using pork chops instead of the loin.  In fact, it was good enough, that I just might do that!

Anyhoooo...  The Final Verdict: Cranberry/Apricot/Crock-Pot-Pork Loin is a very tasty dish indeed!  Highly recommend!!!

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