Louisa Clements is a professional recipe developer, writer, photographer and food enthusiast behind the Canadian food blog Living Lou. She is passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and creates simple, fresh and flavourful recipes to inspire others.
Living Lou was chosen as Hill & Knowlton's top ten food blogs to follow as well as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Blog of the month. Louisa has appeared on national television and written for multiple media outlets including Chatelaine.com, Cityline.ca, TheKit.ca and The College Prepster and creates recipe for a number of Canadian brands.
Website: livinglou.com // Instagram: @Livinglou //
November means comfort food, which to me, means a big pot of stew bubbling on the stove all afternoon, while you curl up on the couch with a good book. Doesn’t that sound magical? In reality, it’s pretty challenging in our always-on-the-go world. To have so much leisure time at home to have a slow-cooked stew or sauce every weekend, that’s where this slow cooker Sunday sauce comes in!
This Sunday sauce cooks away for hours, but you don’t need to be at home, because the slow cooker does all of the work. The flavours intensify as it cooks and the pork shoulder becomes incredibly tender, so much so that it falls right off the bone the minute you remove it from the sauce.
This is a simple and flavourful recipe, filled with fresh ingredients. The first step is to brown the pork shoulder. This will add a ton of pork flavour to the sauce, as well as some textural elements from the crispy seared bits. If you’re thinking about skipping this step, please don’t!
In addition to the pork, white wine and tomatoes add a hit of acid to the sauce. A ton of tomato paste gets caramelized to add a little ‘je ne sais quoi’. The flavour begins to build in the pan and then continues in the slow cooker.
Because we’re getting into the depths of winter, fresh herbs are harder to come by. I reach for high-quality dried oregano for this style of dish, knowing that it will simmer for hours. Oregano is a hearty and tough herb that can stand up to this cooking method—save the strands of fresh basil for sprinkling in at the end!
This is the style of recipe that makes up the majority of the recipes in my repertoire, maximum flavour with simple ingredients you likely already have in your pantry and fridge.
Slow cooker Sunday sauce
Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 8.25 hours
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1.2kg bone-in pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 6oz /177ml can tomato paste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 28oz /794g can whole tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
- ¼ cup thinly sliced basil, for topping
- Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season pork shoulder with ½ tsp of salt, sear for 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place in slow cooker.
- Turn heat down to medium-low, add remaining Tbsp. of oil to the pan, add onion, carrot and celery, and ¼ tsp of salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for another minute. Add tomato paste and sauté another minute to caramelize.
- Deglaze with white wine, cook out alcohol for about 3 minutes, stirring to loosen brown bits from bottom of the pan. Add whole tomatoes, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon into large chunks.
- Add sugar, oregano, pepper flakes and remaining ¼ tsp of salt.
- Pour tomato mixture over pork in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Once done, carefully remove pork to a bowl. Discard bone and any overly fatty pieces. Shred pork with two forks. Add pork back to sauce, serve over pasta and sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
Slow Cooker Sunday Sauce Nutrition Facts per 1 serving (1/10 of recipe): 221 calories | 26 g protein | 7 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 57 mg cholesterol) | 10 g carbohydrate (3 g fibre; 7 g sugars; 1 g added sugars) | 53 mg Calcium | 406 mg sodium | 615 mg potassium