I made dinner last week and it didn’t turn out very well. I followed the recipe almost verbatim, but it was not a tasty meal. Personally, I think I blame the recipe author. We had Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Pork from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller of Food Network.
I made two changes to the recipe that I thought were pretty insignificant. I used two 1 1/4 lb. pork tenderloins instead of the pork roast and I added two cups of cubed butternut squash to the slow cooker. I was going for more of a one pot meal with the veggies included.
I followed the directions and cooked on high for 3 1/2 hours. The pork came out nice and tender. The onions and squash were perfectly done. The potatoes were totally uncooked. I used the Yukon Gold potatoes that the recipe called for. I had to fish the cubed potatoes out and microwave them separately for them to be even edible.
Not only was the recipe off in the time needed to cook the potatoes, even worse was that the sweet and sour sauce was awful. Too tangy, not sweet enough, just an odd taste. The sauce ingredients were similar to Chinese Sweet and Sour Pork recipes I’ve seen before, but this mix was bad.
I find this to be fairly common in Robin Miller’s cooking. Her strategy is sound: cook extra portions of main ingredients and use them later in the week for other meals. That works great when you bake a chicken, eat half, and have shredded chicken meat to use later for a different meal. But Robin’s tastes are sometimes an odd combination.
For example, recently Food Network aired an episode of Quick Fix Meals titled “Porktastic!”. Show name not withstanding, the quick fix strategy was to cook off a pork roast and use it for two other meal during the week. Seems reasonable.
The first dish was Sun-dried Tomato Stuffed Pork, a tenderloin stuffed with store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto, served with plain rice. Sounds just fine. But the second two meals using the pork are Wonton Soup and Pork Fried Rice. The Wonton soup involves mixing the leftover pork with cabbage, soy, and sesame and stuffing it into wonton wrappers. I can’t believe that the flavor of the Asian ingredients wouldn’t clash with the sun-dried tomato pesto.
Likewise for the second meal, Pork Fried Rice. It combined leftover pork, veggies, leftover rice and eggs, seasoned with black-bean sauce. Again, black bean sauce and sun-dried tomato pesto? I don’t think so.
Not all her recipes are like this, but there’s a lot of them that are. I’d recommend that before you follow a whole week’s menu you seriously consider the taste pairings. Just my $0.02.