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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Slow Cooker Sunday Vodka Sauce

This meal has the busy, no-time for cooking all day long lifestyle in mind. It takes about 15 minutes to prep and you get to choose how long to cook it based on your slow cooker preference. If you are like me, then you love to eat home-cooked meals but may not always find the time to make them. Cue Slow Cooker Sunday Vodka Sauce!!! All the flavor of your grandmother's Sunday sauce but without being tied to the kitchen all day.


Honestly just look at this beauty of a meal!







Now I will admit that the homemade pasta took longer than 15 minutes to put together. However, with the addition of a little elbow grease, I will say it is just as simple of a recipe. In fact, it is less than half the ingredients. If you ever have the extra time on your hands, I would full-heartedly recommend making a batch of pasta to go with your homemade sauce. It really makes the meal complete.


Now, onto the sauce!


Our sauce base consists of one can of whole tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce. To prepare it, all you really need to do is break the whole tomatoes apart a bit with a spoon so there are some chunks in the sauce. Easy peasy. Feel like adding some herbs? Do it up! I like oregano, basil, and rosemary in my sauce, along with a couple of bay leaves that I take out after cooking. Salt and pepper lightly and that saucy boi is all set up for his date with Ms. Vodka.



I used 1/4c of vodka.....drank some vodka...and then added an unmeasured amount of vodka. If you want to add more than 1/4c you certainly can, but I wouldn't add more than 1 full cup. Vodka is mostly a binder for the cream which will be added later on and also smooths out the taste of acidity from the tomatoes. Since it doesn't add a taste in and of itself for the sauce, there isn't a good reason to add more than 1 cup.



Now that you have your sauce basically done, make sure you turn the slow cooker on. Nobody wants to find out their slow cooker dinner is raw due to a user error :(



Okie dokes. We are switching gears here to the stovetop. Get out your larger skillet. Season your pork shoulder with some delicious Italian herbs, salt, and pepper. It is time to turn the burner on high heat and get some color on your pork shoulder. I put a little bit of olive oil in my pan...I DO NOT RECOMMEND. It will smoke because of the low smoke point. It will splatter and hurt your hands. It will make everything a mess...I mean just look at the photo. Little droplets of oil are everywhere. Instead of using oil, start cooking the meat with the fatty side down. It will release fat naturally to coat the pan and the browning will likely be even prettier than what is shown below.


Once all (even the ends) sides are browned, put your pork shoulder in the slow cooker with the sauce.



Dice onion and slice a few cloves of garlic to saute in the same pan that was just used for the pork. Same pan=pre-flavored/pre-seasoned.



Cook until it is starting to get some color and is mostly translucent. Click the photo below for the before and after.



Place the cooked onion and garlic in the sauce, make sure you don't pile it all on top of the meat. We want it in the sauce so that the flavor develops.



This step, while not necessary, is one I personally never skip. Grated carrots. It's the easiest way to boost your vegetable intake without even realizing it. Just grate a few carrots, it only takes a couple of minutes, and add it right into the sauce like the onions and garlic. I had some rainbow carrots on hand so I used those up. You really don't notice it at all in the sauce. If you have a picky eater on your hands, then consider using an emulsifier or blender after your sauce is cooked to blend it until smooth. No one will be able to tell the difference ;)



Last two steps!


1) Shred your pork shoulder once the slow cooking time is up. It will be tender enough to come apart with a fork. If it isn't then it needs more time in the slow cooker.


2) Add your cream! I normally use heavy cream, but this day I happened to use milk. Vodka sauce is normally closer to an orange color than a red so adjust accordingly. You can absolutely use milk alternatives here if you would like.




and I lied, there are three steps...


3) Plate & Eat!


Mangia!




 

Slow Cooker Sunday Vodka Sauce


Ingredients


1 28oz Can of Whole Tomatoes

1 28oz Can of Tomato Sauce

Oregano

Basil

Rosemary

1-2 Bay Leaves

Salt

Pepper

Pork Shoulder (size is up to you)

4 Cloves of Garlic, Sliced

1 Large Onion, Diced

2-3 Grated Carrots

1/4-1c of Vodka

1c of Heavy Cream (or dairy-free alternative)


Directions


Pour the can of whole tomatoes into the slow cooker. Break the tomatoes into smaller pieces with a cooking spoon. Add the can of tomato sauce to the slow cooker along with the oregano, basil, rosemary, and bay leaves. Season the pork shoulder with oregano, basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Then brown all sides in a skillet on high heat. Once browned, place pork in the slow cooker. Using the same skillet, saute the onion and garlic until they are mostly translucent and also slightly browned. Add the onion, garlic, and grated carrot to the sauce. Give the sauce a stir and let cook according to your preferred slow cooker setting. [Low=8-10 hours & High=4-6 hours]


Once the time is up, take the pork and bay leaves out of the slow cooker. Shred the pork into bite-sized pieces, return it to the sauce. Mix in the heavy cream. Now it is ready to serve with your favorite pasta.





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