Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin

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Andrea Meyers - Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Cajun rub

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Each afternoon when the boys come home from school, they have one thing on their minds: food.

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

“Mommy, when are we going to eat?”

“Mommy, what’s our snack today?”

“Mommy, I’m starving. What’s for dinner?”

“Mommy, I don’t like that.”

“Mommy, I just want a lollipop for dinner.” (When Monkey Boy said that, I had to look away so he wouldn’t see me giggle.”)

Yes, we’ve heard it all, and some days trying to plan a dinner that all my picky eaters will eat makes me want to pull my hair out. Fortunately a recent experiment with pork tenderloin in the slow cooker turned out very well and all three boys ate that meal with gusto. I mixed up some Cajun spices and rubbed it all over the tenderloins, browned them, browned the onions, then slow cooked it all with white wine, potatoes, and carrots until the meat was fork tender. Michael and the boys went back for seconds and we have enjoyed the leftovers for lunch, too.

As Michael and I talked about how good the dish tasted we also bounced around ideas for different rubs, and I listed some of our ideas below. As for the vegetables, I used what we had on hand while doing a little vegetable bin clean out, but I think this could also be terrific with sweet potatoes, cauliflower, or parsnips.

One of the great things about this preparation is the extra flavor that comes with using white wine to deglaze the pan after browning the tenderloins and the onions, and you’ll need to use a standard skillet to get that beautiful brown, crusty coating (fond) on the pan. Nonstick pans typically inhibit the development of fond, though some manufacturers of higher end nonstick pans claim their products don’t. I think it depends on the pan and type of nonstick coating used, though admittedly I don’t have an arsenal of nonstick cookware to test that theory, but it would be a fun project sometime.

[Updated January 18, 2011.]

SLOW COOKER PORK TENDERLOIN

Serves 9 to 12.

Equipment

large skillet (not nonstick)
6-quart slow cooker
instant read thermometer

Ingredients

2 pounds (~900 g) pork tenderloin
canola oil
spice rub (Your choice, see ideas below.)
3 medium onions, halved and sliced
3 pounds (1.3 kilos) Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
1 pound (454 g) baby carrots (or carrots cut into baby-size pieces)
1-1/2 to 2 cups (360-480 ml) dry white wine

Preparation

1. SPICE MIX: Pour ingredients into a shaker jar, put on the lid, and shake well. Store with other spices in a dark place.

2. PORK: Trim the pork tenderloin of any silver skin. Sprinkle some Cajun seasoning all over each tenderloin, rubbing it into the meat. Heat the skillet and pour in a few tablespoons of canola oil, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Place two of the tenderloins in the pan, keeping them slightly apart. Brown over medium to medium-high heat (heat level 6 on my cooktop), turning the tenderloins as they cook. Place the browned tenderloins in the bottom of the slow cooker, add the potato chunks and carrots and cover with the lid.

3. Cook the onions in the hot skillet until they are browned around the edges, but not fully caramelized, and add to the slow cooker.

4. Deglaze the pan with 1 cup of the white wine, then pour the drippings into the slow cooker. Add another half cup or so of white wine to the slow cooker, making sure there is enough in the bottom to keep the meat moist while cooking.

5. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours, or on high for about 4 hours. For even cooking, about 2 hours before serving I pull out the tenderloins with tongs and let the vegetables fall into the bottom, place the tenderloins atop the vegetables, then recover. (Our slow cooker has an auto setting, which starts on high then automatically switches to low once cooking temperature has been reached, thus reducing cooking time by an hour or so.) When fully cooked the largest piece of tenderloin should register 160° F/71° C with an instant read thermometer (safe cooking temperature). The last time I made this the thermometer registered 165° F/74° C, and the meat was tender, juicy, and fell apart with a fork.

6. Slice and serve with the vegetables and broth.

Spice Rubs

CAJUN
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons ground white pepper
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder

CREOLE (Emeril’s Essence)
2-1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

MEXICAN
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

MOROCCAN
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

INDIAN
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or seeds from about 8 pods, crushed
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Andrea Meyers - Slow Cooker Cuban-Style Black Beans with Rice Andrea Meyers - Slow Cooker Squash Stew with Garbanzo Beans and Red Lentils Andrea Meyers - Slow Cooker Four Bean Baked Beans

More Pork Tenderloin Recipes From Around the Blogs

Panini Happy – Breaded Pork Tenderloin Panini

Bell’ alimento – Napa Valley Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Simply Recipes – Chipotle Citrus Marinated Pork Tenderloin

White on Rice Couple – Grilled Pork Tenderloin Stuffed with Swiss Chard and Pineapple

[An original post from Andrea Meyers: making life delicious. All images and text copyrighted, All Rights Reserved.]

[Disclosure: This blog earns a few cents on items purchased through the Amazon.com links in posts.]

Comments

  1. says

    there is seriously nothing more comforting than slow cooker food! i love the flavors that food gets when cooked gently and slowly! especially when there are awesome spices and flavors like in this recipe. great!

  2. says

    I love pork loin in the crockpot. I usually cook Pork Butt since it’s less expensive. I always get the biggest one they have when it’s on sale and cook it up. Then I put what we don’t eat that night right into the freezer. I use it for tons of Mexican meals like tacos, chilies rellenos, tamales, tortilla casserole, and pupusas just to name a few. Oh and my Pork Arrabiata Pasta. There are so many ways to use it.

    I love the multiple spice rubs you suggested. I think I’ll try Moroccan. Thanks!

  3. miguel says

    This picture is awesome, we cooked it at home and was great. Have you consindered a Thai rub? Thats big here in Manila.

  4. says

    Andrea, I’m hungry. Andrea, what’s for supper. Andrea, may I have a lollipop for supper too? Seriously … the pork looks supper-simple and supper-good. No wonder those boys are hungry!

  5. D's mom says

    This recipe was disappointing. I wanted a recipe that would cook all day and be ready when I got home. The meat was dried out when I got home and flavor was not great.

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