April 16, 2014 9:26:22 AM
Here was the problem: I needed dinner ready by 7:15 p.m. But I was going to be out of the house for the two hours before that.
Further complicating things, I had a pork tenderloin that I wanted to turn into pulled pork. But my typical stovetop method of braising it until it falls apart wouldn't work if I wasn't there to keep an eye on the pot. And I hadn't planned far enough ahead (welcome to my world ... ) to have time to use the slow cooker.
The solution? Braising the pork in the oven. It's faster than a slow cooker -- but equally hands off -- yet far gentler than stovetop cooking. And along the way, I discovered a whole new -- and so very effortless -- way to make a rich sauce for my pork that had the added benefit of slipping in some vegetables.
It actually was pretty simple. I brought a blend of white wine and chicken broth to a simmer, then added chopped butternut squash, sliced onion and my pork tenderloin. I returned the whole thing to a simmer, then popped the pot in the oven and walked away for two hours.
By the time I got home, the pork was so tender it was falling apart. So were the vegetables. So I used a slotted spoon to fish out the pork, then I pureed the squash and onion. Add barbecue sauce and the pork (which was so tender it pretty much pulled itself) and I had a vegetable-rich barbecue pulled pork. The sauce was incredible, in part because the squash gave it a great natural sweetness, as well as a velvety texture.
BUTTERNUT BARBECUE PULLED PORK
Start to finish: 2 hours 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
Makes 8 servings
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups white wine
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cups chopped butternut squash
2 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons hot sauce
Nutrition information per serving: 370 calories; 40 calories from fat (11 percent of total calories); 4.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 75 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 29 g protein; 810 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.