I’ve always loved one pot dinner recipes that don’t require a lot of work and taste great. Well, who doesn’t? Pre-baby days, I liked recipes that were quick to make since I often got home from work late and didn’t want to eat dinner at 9pm. Those days, we had a lot of fried rice, pasta or bbq. Now with baby, things have changed a bit. You may think that being on maternity leave, I have a lot of time to cook lavious meals. Au contraire mon ami. You see, as my babe has gotten older, it’s become more difficult to leave her alone while she’s awake. She’s currently 10 months old and I don’t know if it’s the separation anxiety or if she’s just a momma’s girl, but she can’t seem to be without me for more than a few minutes. Even if I put her in a playpen next to me in the kitchen, she will only last 5 to 10 minutes before wanting me to pick her up.
(Yes, she is playing with a water bottle and a drink tray. Please, no judgements.)
Prior to being mobile, she was content to just sit in her chair and watch me do dishes or prep dinner. Now, she just wants to be in constant contact with me. These days, making dinner is an all day process.
Most of the time, I prep the ingredients (wash and chop veggies, marinate meat, etc) during her morning nap then either cook the meal during her second nap and we have a cold or lukewarm dinner when my husband gets home from work or I wait until he gets home to look after her before I begin cooking.
This is why I like recipes that don’t require a lot of work. I especially like ones where you put everything together in a pot or oven and walk away. This recipe I’m sharing today is for how to cook pork shoulder for pulled pork but we just eat it as is straight out of the oven. It’s my husband’s new favourite dish. He loves being welcomed home by the smell of it cooking in the oven as he walks down the driveway.
This dish has everything you need: meat, veggies and carbs. The meat is so tender and carrots and potato so soft (they ought to be, it’s been in the oven for 2 hours) that even baby can eat it. Bonus! We usually have it with rice and a side of blanched veggies (no need to season since the meat is already so flavorful). And if I’m really ambitious I’ll make some cheddar biscuits to dip in the sauce, but usually I’m not. 😉 Remind me to share that recipe later.
What do you think? Does this look good enough to give it a try? Let me know what you think.
What’s your go to recipe? How do you keep your child occupied while you cook or do other things?
One Pot Dinner (Adapted from the kitchn)
4 to 6 pounds boneless or bone-in pork shoulder or butt
1-3 tablespoons mixed spices (see rub recipe below)
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
few carrots, roughly chopped
few celery stalks, roughly chopped
few nugget potatoes, chopped in half or quarters
4 cloves garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 cups liquid — chicken or vegetable broth
Rub from Food Network (makes more than you need, just store leftovers in a sealed bag or container)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 bay leaf, crushed
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Place an oven rack in the lower-middle of the oven.
- Trim the pork: Trim off any large pieces of fat from the outside, but leave small pieces and the interior fat. If using boneless pork, cut the pork into several large fist-sized pieces. If using bone-in, leave the pork as is, on the bone.
- Season the pork: Sprinkle the pork with the spice mixture. Rub the seasoning into the pork with your fingers so the meat is evenly coated on all sides.
- Sear the pork: Warm the oil in the Dutch oven (or frying pan) over medium-high heat. Sear the pork on all sides, working in batches as necessary so as not to crowd the pan. For more detailed step-by-step instructions, see How To Sear Meat. Transfer pork to oven safe dish or pan after searing if not using a Dutch oven.
- Add the vegetables: Onions, garlic, celery, carrots, potato. Nestle them around the pork.
- Add the liquid: Pour the liquid over the top of the pork. The pork should be only partially submerged, with some of the pork remaining above the surface of the liquid.
- Bring to a simmer: Set the Dutch oven with the pork over medium-high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. If not using a Dutch oven, warm the liquid in the hot pan after searing the pork.
- Cover and transfer to the oven: Once simmering, cover the Dutch oven and transfer the whole pot to the oven. If not using dutch oven, cover oven-safe dish or pan with aluminum foil.
- Cook for 2 hours or until fork tender: Let the pork cook undisturbed for 2 hours, then begin checking it every half hour. Total cooking time will be 2 to 4 hours, depending on the amount of pork and whether it’s bone-in (which takes longer to cook). The pork is done when it is fork-tender (when the meat can be easily pierced with a fork without resistance and easily falls apart with a little pressure). If you’re cooking pork on the bone, the meat should be falling off the bone. If in doubt, cook the meat another half hour; it’s almost impossible to overcook meat with this method. Two hours is usually enough time to cook to tender.