Sunday, July 01, 2012

Foil and the Slow Cooker, Volume II

My family so enjoyed the foil packet dinner we made in the slow cooker recently (Foil and the Slow Cooker, Volume I - Taco Potatoes) that I decided to try it again by making BBQ Pork (for sliders) and Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes in the same way today. This time, however, I tried something a bit different by using a bread pan for the scalloped potatoes, then wrapped it completely in foil. My bread pan fits perfectly in my slow cooker. I suppose using a bread pan wouldn't work for those utilizing one of those models of slow cookers that are tall and skinny. Mine is the large, oval type, which I think I would recommend for this style of slow cooking. I do plan on picking up different sizes of disposable aluminum pans for future trials of slow cooker packets ... some things like scalloped potatoes would probably stick to regular foil if we didn't use some sort of pan that we could coat with non-stick spray.

For the BBQ Pork Sliders:

Start by chopping into large chunks a pork tenderloin (mine was 2 pounds). Season pork with salt and pepper. Add in a small amount of sliced onions (optional). Then, I "doctored" up our favorite BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's) in a small saucepan with a little apple cider vinegar, a little squeeze of yellow mustard and some red pepper flakes. Use any kind of store-bought or homemade sauce you like. (This is being prepared for little Pork BBQ Sliders, which I topped with some coleslaw.)


Wrap pork in a double layer of foil and seal well. Place in bottom of slow cooker.

For the Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes:


Coat a bread pan with non-stick spray. Drizzle a little half-and-half (whole milk or heavy cream will work, too) in the bottom of the pan. Begin layering thinly sliced potatoes in rows.

Sprinkle each layer with black pepper and kosher salt. Sprinkle on grated parmesan cheese and pour a little half-and-half over each layer.


Repeat the layering process until you're to the top of the pan. I left a little room at the top so that it wouldn't bubble over into the foil. Halfway through the layering, I did add about a 1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced.


Wrap the whole pan in foil from the bottom up. Place on top of pork packet in slow cooker. Cook on high for 7 - 8 hours. I did open up the potatoes a few times throughout cooking to push down the taters to make sure they were fully submerged into the half-and-half liquid (to avoid them discoloring).


I did "cheat" a little at the end. I finished both dishes in the oven. When the pork and potatoes were done (tender and fully cooked) in the slow cooker, I removed the foil from the potatoes and I added some extra parmesan (this time it was shaved) to get nice and bubbly on top. And, I opened up the foil on the pork a little, shredded it a bit with two forks and added a little extra squeeze of BBQ sauce to kinda caramelize up in the oven. I put them in the oven on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes on 400ยบ. I did this just to brown and thicken the potatoes a bit and to thicken up the sauce on the pork. However, this way of cooking was MUCH better than having the actual oven on ALL day!


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