I have made this French style Hunter’s Pork many times for guests in our home. It’s an easy slow cooker meat dish that literally falls apart by the time you’re ready to serve it. As a bonus there’s a nice rich deep flavored sauce that you can ladle over egg noodles or even potatoes. Since it’s a slow cooker kind of meal, I can do all the prep work that morning, turn it on and let it cook all day. I call that stress free entertaining!
A few years back, my sister-in-law gave me a cookbook by Michele Scicolone called “The French Slow Cooker”. It has some fabulous recipes and I’ve made several of them. My Hunter’s Pork is an adaptation of her ‘Pork Ribs Hunter’s Style’. You know me, I tend to alter recipes to suit our taste and pantry availability. I don’t go to the store often, so many times I’m using whatever I have on hand without sacrificing flavors. Here I use a pork loin in place of her ribs, and I saute’ my mushrooms in the beginning and add them to the slow cooker to cook all day. I also have a hang up on using a little wine in my French cooking. It’s just gotta have some in there, right? It is French, after all… Just saying… And there may be a couple of other adjustments, but that’s the beauty of cooking. You can make it any way you want!
There’s another recipe from her book that I’ve already posted and is another one of our favorites for guests. It’s called, Beef with Red Wine and Prunes. Prunes?? Yes, and I promise it’s delicious and you’ll not even notice there’s prunes in there. They disintegrate to nothing, but add beautiful flavors. You just gotta try it!
Here’s how I make it.
Salt and pepper both sides of the 3 1/2 pound pork loin (give or take).
I bought a whole pork loin and cut it in half. Cook one and freeze the other. This is about 3 1/2 pounds which is perfect for this recipe. If there’s a semi-thick layer of fat on the underside, I tend to trim most of it away but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Just a tidbit of info here… When purchasing pork loins, look at the color of the meat. You’ll notice that some are much lighter and others are much darker. The lighter in color it is, the leaner it tends to be. The darker in color, the richer the flavor is and I find to be more tender. Think of it like the white meat and the dark meat in chicken. So, I like getting a pork loin that has a mix of both.
After you salt and pepper both sides, cut it in half so it will fit in a large frying pan.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Lay both halves in the pan, fat side down, and brown for a few minutes. Notice that I do not add oil. I just think it browns better and it will also have less splattering going on.
When the meat releases from the pan easily, it’s ready to turn over and brown the other side. This will take about 8-10 minutes total for both sides.
By the way, this browning process is called Fla-vor! I do not skip this step in the recipe.
Put both halves into the slow cooker.
Turn the burner to a medium low heat. In the same pan you browned the meat, add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and sliced mushrooms. Saute’ the mushrooms for 5 minutes until they’re starting to get soft and tender.
Add the cooked mushrooms to the pork loin in the slow cooker.
Back to the same pan, on medium low heat, add chopped onions and cook 3-4 minutes until they’re tender. If you need to, add a little more oil.
When the onions are tender and starting to turn a little golden in color, add the garlic, tomato paste, herbes de Provence and allspice. Stir.
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs common to French cooking. Typically it will contain savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano along with a few others, such as lavender, depending on the brand. If you don’t find this in your local grocery store, it’s readily available online.
Pour in the can of tomato puree and…
Note about the tomato puree. For some reason, the can sizes can vary a bit between brands. Some of the big names are 10.75 ounces while some store brands are 14 and 15 ounces. I get whatever is on sale and use all of it. The saucier the better!
Add the red wine, such as a Merlot, Red Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. Stir.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Then pour the sauce over the pork loin and mushrooms.
Put the lid on the slow cooker, turn the heat to low for 8 hours. Check it after 4 hours for liquid level and don’t let it dry out, then every couple hours after that. Not all slow cookers cook at the same rate and it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it.
NOTE: Even though you want to keep an eye on it and not let it get dry, do not lift that lid every time you walk by. You’ll lose too much heat and it will take much longer to cook and get nice and tender.
It will literally fall apart as you’re plating it. I usually just break it up a bit in the slow cooker and serve straight out of it.
For a few other French dishes you may be interested in, check these out!
My family likes to eat it over egg noodles along with some of the sauce. I made this last weekend when we had guests and just forgot to do pictures with it that way. If egg noodles are not your thing, you can certainly serve it over rice, boiled new potatoes or just like this. Honestly, I like it just like this, which explains why I forgot to do pictures over noodles!
Here’s the printer friendly recipe.