Now I’m about half way to reaching my target weight I’ve started to think about how I’ll be able to maintain that weight, but still eat the dishes I love. The solution I’ve come to is to make my favourite dishes healthier, lower in calories and fat.
I decided to start with pulled pork in barbecue sauce. My original recipe uses pork shoulder, which although I remove most of the excess fat is still a fatty cut of meat. Using the slow cooker means it’s not essential to use a fatty cut of meat for slow cooking because none of the moisture escapes (unless you leave it for hours and hours longer than the recommended cooking time) it won’t dry out. So I decided to use the leanest cut of pork, the fillet or tenderloin. This cut is only about 3-4% fat. It is a more expensive cut, so maybe not great if you’re planning on feeding a large crowd but when there’s just the two of us it doesn’t exactly break the bank, and even a generous portion cost less than £1.50. Using this cut also meant that the pork cooked in half the time it usually takes (3-5 hours on low), so you cold even prepare it when you come in from work!
I also served this with wholegrain rice instead of burger buns.
This recipe provides 5-6 generous portions.
Mustard powder – 2 tablespoons
Paprika (ordinary, sweet or hot) – 2 tablespoons
Smoked paprika – 2 tablespoons
Ground white pepper – 2 tablespoons
Ground cumin – 2 tablespoons
Ground coriander – 2 tablespoons
Ground ginger – 2 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper – 1 tablespoon
Chilli flakes – 1 tablespoon
Celery salt – ½ tablespoon
Pork fillet/tenderloin – 2.5lb/1.1kg aproox. 2 fillets (trimmed of any excess fat/sinew and halved). This is the minimum for my 5.7L crock-pot, you can double the quantity but this was just right for the amount of sauce. If your crock-pot is 3.5L the maximum size joint you can use will probably be 1.5kg, but check your instruction manual.
Mushrooms – 5oz/150g (sliced)
Barbecue Sauce Ingredients:
Olive oil – ½ tablespoon
Red Onion – 1 (diced)
Garlic – 3-4 cloves (diced or crushed)
Spice rub – 3-4 tablespoons (There will be more left but don’t use it all unless you want a fairly-very hot barbecue sauce.)
Celery salt – ½ tablespoon
Smoked paprika – ½ tablespoon
Cider vinegar – 2 tablespoons
Tomato ketchup – 8 tablespoons
Tomato puree – 1 tablespoon
Soft brown sugar – 3-4 tablespoons
Worcestershire sauce – 2 tablespoons
Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Honey – 2 tablespoons
Orange juice – 3½ fl oz/100ml
Marmite – ½ teaspoon
Equipment: Mixing bowl, cling film, slow cooker, chopping board, knife, saucepan, wooden spoon, ladle, jug
- Combine the rub ingredients in a large bowl, mixing together well.
- Put the pork in the bowl, and rub spice mixture all over the flesh, covering well.
- Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Heat the olive oil in the saucepan, add onions and garlic and soften.
- Add the spice rub, celery salt, and smoked paprika. Warm through to release the flavours.
- Add the cider vinegar and simmer for a minute or two before adding ketchup, puree, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and honey. Mix together well and simmer for a few minutes.
- Stir in the orange juice and marmite, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Place the pork in the crock-pot and set on low.
- Pour in the barbecue sauce, making sure you coat the top of the pork if it’s not covered by the sauce already.
- Cook on low for 3-5 hours.
- Halfway through the cooking time turn the meat over, and baste with the sauce.
- An hour or so before the end of the cooking time add the sliced mushrooms.
- Half an hour before the end of the cooking time ladle out most of the barbecue sauce into a jug (or jugs) and leave to cool.
- When the pork is just about ready skim off any fat from the jug(s) of cooled barbecue sauce. Pour the sauce into the saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Turn down to a simmer, taste and adjust to your liking (I added another tablespoon of ketchup and honey). Continue to simmer until it’s the consistency you desire while you prepare the pork.
- Take the pork out of the slow cooker and put on a plate. Leave to rest for 5 minutes in a warm place. Pour off the remaining sauce from the crock-pot and leave to cool before freezing for later.
- Pull the pork apart with 2 forks.
- Serve with rice and the reduced sauce.