I’m certain that this is the best thing I’ve ever cooked. It dethrones Deer Delicious due to some incredible depth of flavor that is sweet and savory while leaving a low, smoky burn on the tongue. The smell of it is still hanging in the air in my apartment and just that is nearly enough to bring tears to your eyes. It combines three of my favorite foods: apples, sweet potatoes, and slow cooked pork, all of which happen to be reasonably priced, particularly if you use pork shoulder like I did. The entire recipe cost me around $10. It’s also easy to prepare the night before and drop in the slow cooker when you wake up, which I did at 6:30 this morning before heading to South to watch Michigan destroy Minnesota. By the time I got home to watch MSU and OSU fail all over each other, the apartment smelled amazing. I will admit that if you’re looking for a lot of texture, this is not the dish for you. But if you’re up for letting a meal melt away in your mouth, this will certainly satisfy you.
Your ingredients. I considered substituting apples tossed in apple pie spices for the apple pie filling in this recipe, but decided not to for two reasons. First, apple pie filling is cheaper and quicker than buying apples and making my own. Second, I was planning to make this recipe the night before. I worried that fresh apples would go brown, while the pre-mixed apple pie syrup would add to the marination of the pork. If I prepare this the day I plan to eat it, I might try fresh apples. I’m sure it would make a nice substitution, if you have the apples on hand!
Chop your sweet potatoes and onions. This is another reason I might use fresh apples next time: I could make the apples the same shape as the sweet potatoes, which, while not at all necessary, would look pretty.
Chop your chipotle peppers and add pepper, paprika, and salt…
Then mix them all together. Rub this mixture into the pork.
Place the meat into the slow cooker dish and cover with sweet potatoes, onions, and apple pie filling. Stir a bit to coat potatoes and onions with syrup.
At this point, I placed the covered slow cooker crock in my refrigerator and went to bed. If you’re preparing this the day you plan to eat it, place it in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6, depending on your slow cooker.
When the pork is cooked, remove the sweet potato mixture with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Also remove the pork to a serving dish, and the remaining liquid to a medium saucepan.
Mix 1/4 water with 3 tablespoons of flour.
Add flour to saucepan, and cook over medium heat until thickened.
Serve with biscuits, preferably homemade if you have the time and aren’t scared of the extra dishes.
Serve the meat and vegetables separately as Jamie did in the top picture, or pile them on top of each other and douse them in gravy like me. Whichever way suits your fancy, but either way try them together. Each part it great on its own, but together, they’re incredible.
Sweet and Spicy Pork with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Allrecipes
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 boneless pork shoulder roast, about 2.5 lbs
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 large onion
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 lukewarm water
Chop chipotle peppers and add to a small mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, and paprika. Rub mixture into all sides of pork. Place pork in slow cooker. Chop sweet potato into approximately 1 inch cubes. Cover pork with sweet potato, onion, and apple pie mix, stirring a little to coat with apple pie syrup. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 4-6 on low, depending on slow cooker. Remove pork and sweet potato mixture and set aside. Remove remaining liquid to saucepan. Combine flour and water, then add to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly until thickened. Serve pork with sweet potato mixture and gravy.