I'm working on a new book (not a cookbook) and when I write, I usually get so involved that I lose track of time and before I know it, my stomach is growling and it's waaay past dinnertime, so I solved that dilemma today by pulling out my crock pot and making dinner this morning right after breakfast.
Don't you just love crock pots? They do all the cooking for you. All you have to do is the prep. I have this kitchen-sink mind-set when I cook in my crock pot (actually, it's every time I cook). I tend to throw a lot of ingredients into the mix, then I sort of get into a rhythm where I toss in a lot of spices without measuring.
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice, divided
- Fajita seasoning, to taste
- Powdered cumin, to taste
- Dried, minced garlic, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chili powder (lots), to taste
- Mexican oregano, crumbled, to taste
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 5 carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large Hatch green chiles, roasted, seeded, and chopped, divided
- 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin (The one I bought was seasoned with lemon-pepper, so that added some extra flavor.)
- 1 (15.5 oz.) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 1 (12 oz.) jar roasted red peppers, with juice
Chop the celery, carrots, onion, and Hatch chiles. Layer half of the chiles, and all the celery, carrots, and onion on top of the diced tomatoes, seasoning to taste between layers. Save the remaining half of the Hatch chiles to top the roast with before cooking.
Heat a 12-inch skillet (not a non-stick skillet--you want to get a good sear on the meat) over medium-high heat. Add the pork tenderloin, with it's own juices, and sear it on all sides. Do not brown it in olive oil or butter. You want the meat to get nice and crusty brown, plus you'll be deglazing the pan and adding the meat juices to the crock pot.
While the meat is browning, drain and rinse the kidney beans, chop the potatoes, and open the jar of roasted red peppers.
Place the browned meat on top of the veggies in the crock pot. Season to taste with the above-mentioned herbs and spices. Add a little water to the skillet to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up all the tasty brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add these juices to the crock pot on top of the meat. Scatter the remaining Hatch chiles over top of the meat.
Add the kidney beans and potatoes around the sides and on top of the meat. Add the roasted red peppers, season again, to taste, then pour the remaining diced tomatoes over everything. Put the lid on, let it cook on High for 6 hours, then enjoy your complete meal cooked in a crock pot.
I never follow a recipe when I cook. I just toss things together and hope they'll taste good. This turned out to be totally delicious, with just the perfect amount of heat. I was planning to slice the roast, but it got so tender that it just fell apart when I took it out of the crock pot. I have lots of delicious leftovers--perfect for nuking in the microwave when I'm writing waaay past dinnertime.