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Fall happens to be my favorite season with some of my favorite flavors.
So when the opportunity to partner again with Smithfield All Natural Fresh Pork arose, I knew instantly what I wanted to make. Slow Cooker Pork with Apples and Cabbage is one of my beloved fall recipes. I’ve made this using pork chops (both bone in and boneless), loin, and shoulder. Luckily Smithfield All Natural Fresh Pork has all these cuts, which are all naturally tender and juicy, and free of steroids, hormones, and artificial ingredients. These are a few of the reasons why I love working with Smithfield All Natural Fresh Pork. Now they have partnered with Walmart for Compassion for Community, a partnership to celebrate and honor local heroes, and that is a cause I can get behind.
This got me thinking about the heroes in my own life, those who have made a difference or lasting impact. Of all the people that flitted through my mind, there was one person who I kept coming back to; my grandma.
My grandma hasn’t done anything that would make her a hero in the the traditional sense of the word. She’s never rushed into a burning building to save a child, or even a kitten for that matter. She hasn’t cured any particular disease or plight of humanity. She didn’t accomplish 12 labors earning her a place in Olympus.
She’s just a woman, a wife, mother, grandma, and a great grandmother. But much like the alluded to Hercules, she does have superhuman strength (of character and fortitude). Her father died when she was 5 years old and her mom remained single, raising her 4 children by working hard. My great grandmother’s example shaped how my grandmother has lived her own life.In her 80’s now, my grandmother still works hard. She stopped punching a time clock back when I graduated high school, but she still keeps busy. She (and my grandfather–he deserves his own post) raised two daughters, just a year apart in age. She worked part time and eventually full time after becoming a mother. She also did and does all the stereotypical things like cooking and cleaning for/after her family.
These are all great things. But in and of themselves, they aren’t all that extraordinary. Many women fit the description above. But what sets my grandma apart is her strength, resolve, and her ‘never quit’ attitude. When life throws something at her, she takes it and keeps going. If you were to ask any member of my family to describe my grandmother in one word, I am fairly certain they’d all say ‘strong.’
She’s been my example, shown me that you take what life gives you and not let it get the best of you. You dust yourself off and you keep going. Cry if you need to have your cry, but then dry your tears and get back to it. And you always make the best of bad situation, turning as much of the negative into positive and there is always way. That was a lot of cliches, but her example has gotten me through plenty of rough times in my life.
My grandma has been a great teacher to me. She’s one of the people that nurtured my love of cooking, but her real gift to me is strength. I’m grateful for the both the overt and subtle lessons she’s taught me throughout my life. She’s been there every time I have needed her, always with a listening ear, pure empathy, and a sincere belief that I can handle everything that comes my way. And her belief in me gave me the one thing I needed to have in life: A belief in myself.
It was that belief in myself that gave me the courage to try something risky (professionally) while raising my then-baby girl all on my own: this website. And as a result, I’m here, almost three years later, waxing poetically about my grandma, earning a living that combined three hobbies and now sharing a favorite recipe of mine, this Slow Cooker Pork with Apples and Cabbage.
Slow Cooker Pork with Apples and Cabbage
- *Slow Cooker Pork
- 1 Smithfield All Natural Fresh Pork Shoulder Picnic (3-4 pounds)
- 2 cups apple cider (fresh pressed is best)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 shallot; roughly chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 3 tsp fresh thyme/1 tsp dried
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- Apples and Cabbage
- 3 thick-sliced bacon (6 regular); diced
- 1 head cabbage (3 pounds); chopped
- 1 large onion; diced
- 3 carrots; shredded/grated (5 oz)
- 2 apples; cored and diced (granny smith and fuji/gala)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 6 oz apple cider (fresh pressed is best)
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp salt +/- to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper +/- to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil; +/- (plus an additional optional 2 tbsp)
- Slow Cooker Pork
- Place the pork roast in the slow cooker.
- In a bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, whisk together and pour over the roast.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 2-3. (See notes)
- Once cooked, allow to rest for at least 10 minutes for slicing/pulling apart.
- Apples and Cabbage
- Prep the produce; set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk the cider, tomato paste, mustard, herbs, and spices together; set aside
- In a large skillet on medium high heat, cook the bacon.
- Once the bacon is cooked, remove from pan; reserve drippings (or discard renderings and add the optional 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Add the onions, cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots and apples, stir well.
- Add as much cabbage as will fit, stir frequently and as it cooks down, add more cabbage until all has been added the skillet. Cook for 7-10 minutes; to desired doneness. The remaining 2 tbsp olive oil maybe added be needed.
- Once the cabbage has cooked down, pour the seasoned liquid into the pan, and stir frequently.
- Allow to cook until the liquid has reduced significantly then remove from heat.
- Slice the meat and serve with the apples and cabbage.
Recipe NotesAll slow cooker times are approximate as actual temperatures vary among appliances. If you love your pork medium rare, you should cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees (followed by a three-minute rest). If you like your pork a little more done, you can cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Who has made an impact and deserves recognition (someone who embraces Compassion, Care and Commitment) in your life? You can nominate this person by entering the #SmithfieldCares Sweepstakes. There is over $9,000 in prizing, don’t miss your chance to nominate someone in your community who deserves recognition for embracing compassion, care and commitment. Smithfield will award prizes to local heroes.