Pork tenderloin in slow cooker cuts fat in barbecue favorite

04/23/2013 12:00 AM

05/20/2014 10:43 AM

Pulled pork, a popular barbecue staple, is usually made from the shoulder of the pig, also referred to as Boston butt. But The Star’s Low-Fat Pulled Pork

uses tenderloin, a much leaner cut of pork instead.

Typically pulled pork is smoked, but it can also be roasted at a very low temperature in the oven or in a slow cooker. A long, slow cooking allows the meat to be pulled into strands for serving. Our version opts for the slow cooker and flavors the pork with smoky, flavorful chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

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Shopping tip:

chipotle peppers in adobo sauce are commonly available canned in the Mexican food section of most grocery stores. Use one of the peppers, with a little adobe sauce, in this recipe, then freeze the remaining peppers. To do so, spread the peppers in a single layer on a waxed paper lined tray and freeze until just firm. Once firm, place the frozen peppers in a freezer bag, seal, label and freeze. Use within about 6 months.

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Serving tips:

Serve on a crisp, baked corn tortilla, spooned on hot, cooked polenta, folded into a warm, low-fat flour tortilla, or served on a toasted bun as a sandwich.

To make a baked tortilla, arrange 6-inch corn tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet and spray with nonstick spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp.

Or, to prepare polenta, bring 41/2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Gradually stir in 11/2 cups coarse ground cornmeal, reduce heat to simmer and cook 30 minutes or until very thick, stirring occasionally. Spoon the cooked, shredded pork on the tortilla or over the polenta, then top as desired with chopped tomatoes, shredded low-fat cheese, fat-free sour cream, minced cilantro.

Low-Fat Pulled Pork Makes 15 servings (about 5 cups shredded pork) 2 pounds pork tenderloin, all visible fat trimmed away 1 onion, sliced 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce 2 teaspoons dry minced garlic 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon chili powder Salt and pepper to taste 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced no-salt-added tomatoes, with liquid

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut each pork tenderloin into thirds. Brown pork, in batches as necessary, turning to brown evenly.

Place onion and chipotle pepper in a 4-quart slow cooker. Place browned pork over onions in slow cooker. Sprinkle garlic, cumin and chili powder over pork. Season with salt and pepper. Pour tomatoes over all. Cover and cook on Low setting 5 to 6 hours or until pork is very tender.

Lift pork and onion from slow cooker and place on a tray. Pour liquids into a deep bowl.

Using two forks shred pork. Cut onion slices into bite-size pieces. Return pork and onion to slow cooker. Skim any collected fat from top of liquids. Stir about one-half of liquid into meat, then add additional liquids as desired, until shredded pork is as moist as desired. Cover and cook on Low setting 30 minutes.

Per serving: 78 calories (24 percent from fat), 2 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 39 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 41 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

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