This week, Danny and I are taking on King County's United Way Hunger Action Week challenge. From January 25th to the 29th (yesterday through Friday), many of us food bloggers will be living on a bare minimum of food money each day, equal to the maximum food assistance available to an individual living in Washington state.
Here, in King County, that's $7 a day.
For a family of three, the maximum allowed is $18 a day.
That's a heck of a lot less than we have been spending.
When we planned out our groceries and rough ideas of meals on Sunday, the day before the challenge, we immediately thought of a pork shoulder to roast. Not only could we eat the tender, falling-apart meat right out of the slow cooker, but we could also make great quesadillas with grated cheese, as well as a satisfying dish of brown rice, pieces of pork shoulder, and sauteed vegetables, with a sauce made out of the braising liquid, reduced.
No matter how much we spend, we're eating well this week.
Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder
2-pound pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large carrot, peeled and medium chopped
2 stalks celery, medium chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and medium chopped
½ head small garlic
1 apple, cut into eighths
1 sprig rosemary, taken off the stem and fine chopped
½ fresh bay leaf (or 1 whole leaf, if dried)
1 quart chicken stock
Searing the meat. Set a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the canola oil. When the oil is hot enough to run around the pan easily, put in the shoulder roast. Sear until the bottom has browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Sear the roast on all sides. Remove from the sauté pan and put in the slow cooker (we used a 6-quart cooker).
Pan-roasting the vegetables. Pour the remaining oil in the same pan, again on medium-high heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and apple. Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and bay leaf cook until they release their fragrance, about 1 minute.
Cooking the pork shoulder roast. Add the roasted vegetables to the slow cooker. Pour in the chicken stock, making sure that the roast is covered with stock. Put on the lid and turn on the slow cooker to low. Cook until the roast is tender enough to almost melt between pinched fingers, about 8 to 10 hours.