Reach for the slow cooker for a warm winter dinner

Every home should have a slow cooker.
Every home should have a slow cooker. TNS

Sesame Pork Roast serves as my standby in cold weather, as much for its enticing fragrance as for its tender meat.

Add more or less green onions. Experiment with fresh ginger instead of ground (but make sure you use a lot). I’ve prepared it without curry powder when I discovered, too late, I had none. The recipe works because, at its core, it’s simply braised meat with seasonings.

This roast is easy to prepare whether in a slow cooker or in the oven. When prepared in the slow cooker, the roast doesn’t need to be marinated in advance because the meat marinates during the all-day cooking time. But for ease of prep in the morning, it’s helpful to make the marinade the night before.

Sesame Pork Roast

Serve 6.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

3 or 4 green onions, sliced (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons molasses (any type)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 cup water

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 pounds pork shoulder roast

3 tablespoons flour for gravy, if desired

Toast sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until fragrant and slightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Place seeds in a bowl with the green onions, ketchup, soy sauce, ginger, molasses, salt, curry powder, black pepper, 1 cup water and wine vinegar; stir to mix thoroughly. Place meat in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the meat. If you are not using a slow cooker, marinate the roast, covered and in the refrigerator, for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

To prepare in a slow cooker: Place meat and marinade in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for about 3 hours. When done, the meat should be falling apart tender, easy to pull apart with a fork.

To prepare in the oven: Place the meat and marinade in a covered casserole dish, and let it cook at 300 degrees for about 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

To serve: Place meat over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes, along with pan juices or with gravy made from the juices. Or pull the meat apart and serve on buns for a variation on pulled pork sandwiches.

To make gravy: Pour pan juices into a 2-cup measure. Skim off fat, returning 2 tablespoons of the fat to a pan. If the pan juices do not equal 2 cups, add enough water to reach the 2-cup measure.

Whisk 3 tablespoons flour into the fat in the pan and cook over medium heat on the stovetop until bubbly. Slowly stir in pan juices and cook until gravy thickens, stirring constantly.