No. 114: Slow Cooker Coconut Pork Curry

Another week of travel and busy work is almost upon us.

As I was doing a bit of menu planning I wanted to make something Mr. McCormick would enjoy for more than just one meal. Quantity in these situations is key, but so is flavor.

Thank goodness for Food & Wine's slow cooker inspired recipes. They are perfect for Sundays. This coconut pork curry sounded like a great way to end the weekend.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon mild curry powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
One 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Steamed rice, chopped cilantro and sliced scallions, for serving

To make

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Add half of the pork to the skillet and brown it over moderately high heat, about 12 minutes. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining pork.

Pork

(Browning)

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the skillet. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, curry, cumin and turmeric and cook over low heat, stirring, until fragrant and the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Curried onions

Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes and their juices, coconut milk and stock.

Stew

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Spoon off as much fat from the surface of the stew as possible. Serve the stew over rice in deep bowls, garnished with cilantro and scallions.

The results

While it looked and smelled terrific, we were surprised by this recipe. Sadly, not in a good way.

Bowl

It came out much more soupy than I hoped, with the base only a bit reduced. It also lacked any real flavor. Yes, there was a hint of curry and coconut, but it didn't hold up against all that meat and chicken stock.

It was a bummer. Not a bad dish, just a bit disappointing. If you want to attempt it, here are some tips:

  • Double the coconut milk
  • Reduce the stock to 1 cup
  • Triple the seasonings, and use some of them on the beef while it's browning to really intensify the flavors
  • Add some green chilis *Cut beef into 1-inch diced cubs
  • Serve with saffron rice, which would bring some great flavor on it's own

If you have a great coconut curry recipe, send it my way! I'd love to try it again.

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