Sure, pumpkins are a fruit.

Who says fruits are just for sweets? This year's bumper crop has me searching for new ways to use the big orange berries (yup, they're berries).  While poking around our local Williams Sonoma store last week, I came across a jar of pumpkin braising sauce ... I have pumpkins, lotsa pumpkins. I read the ingredients and decided to give my own adaptation a try.

I used a rosemary pear conserve canned last year (and a concoction I hadn't quite figured out what to do with) instead of applesauce but I am quite sure applesauce will yield just as yummy a result. Bake your pumpkin and prepare your potatoes ahead of time (nuke the potatoes for five or warm them in the oven for twenty minutes or so before suppertime). Prep time of about about twenty minutes is all you need and then relax while the slow cooker makes magic.

3 pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, grated or minced
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Bay leaf
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
3 tablespoons chunky pear (or apple) sauce
9 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juices
1 cup cooked pureed pumpkin
2 teaspoons fresh sage, chopped (3/4 teaspoon if dried)
2 cups chicken stock

Season the pork with salt and black pepper. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Brown the pork on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer meat to a crockpot.

 Reduce the heat to medium in the skillet and warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, tomato paste, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the Bay leaf, vinegar,  pear (or apple sauce), tomatoes with their juices, pumpkin, sage, and stock. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over pork in slow cooker.

Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 8 hours.  Skim the fat off the sauce. Thicken with arrowroot (or cornstarch) slurry if needed. Shred the meat off the bone, serve pork and sauce over mashed potatoes or rice. Add a side of roasted Brussels sprouts or other green veggie. Serves 4-6.


  1. I saw this at Williams Sonoma this weekend, too. Your version sounds (and looks) really good, if only I wasn't the only pumpkin lover in my house.

    1. It doesn't taste particularly pumpkiny - like you think of pumpkin. Bet it would be just as yummy using winter squash like butternut.


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