6-ingredient slow cooker pulled pork
The Associated Press

Once upon a time (like, yesterday) I had a hefty hunk of pork, no time and no specific thing I wanted to make. But even with so little going for me, and so little inspiration (see, it happens to all of us), I did know one thing: A container of homemade shredded pork in the refrigerator means that there will be dinner later in the week and that my future frazzled self will look back on my current frazzled self and be grateful.

Seared the pork, tossed in some garlic and chicken broth, and tossed the whole thing into the slow cooker for a while. For very little hands on effort, you will be richly rewarded. A delicious, tender, falling apart pork bathed in an equally delicious sauce. And it took just six ingredients — a number that includes the salt and pepper!

For a bit more flavor, throw in some branches of fresh oregano or other herbs when you add the chicken broth. A diced onion or can of diced tomatoes would be delightful, too. But hardly essential.

Now, what to do with this pork? Pile it high on buns for a pulled pork sandwich (and if you need more flavor, a squirt of any kind of barbecue sauce — Texas-style, Memphis-style, North-Carolina style, your choice — will tie it all together). Or go Asian by mixing in a bit of hoisin sauce and serve in lettuce wraps with some fresh ginger, mint and shredded carrot. It also would be great added to a stir-fry. Or do the taco or enchilada thing, or add it to a lasagna or some manicotti.

The options last as long as the pork does.

The Associated Press

6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

1 tablespoon olive oil

5to 6-pound bone-in pork picnic shoulder, skin removed

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

10 garlic cloves, skin on

3 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock, plus more for drizzling

In a large skillet over high, heat the oil. Season the pork with the salt and pepper, then add the pork to the skillet and sear on all sides until very well browned, with a nice outer crust, about 15 minutes in all. After 10 minutes, add the garlic cloves, turning them every once in a while so that they brown on all sides as well.

Transfer the pork, fatty side up, to a 7to 8-quart slow cooker. Return the skillet to high heat. Add 1 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any stuck bits. When the skillet bottom looks clean, pour the liquid over the pork, then add another 2 cups of broth to the slow cooker.

Cook for 5 ½ to 6 hours on high or 9 to 10 hours on low, or until the pork starts to fall apart when prodded with a fork. It should reach at least 170 F.

Let the pork rest for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the garlic cloves, then squeeze them out of the papers into the liquid. Transfer the pork to a large bowl or large cutting board, then use 2 forks to pull apart the meat intro shreds. Moisten the meat with the juices in the slow cooker (use as much or as little as you like). Mix well to moisten and flavor the meat with the juices.

Start to finish: 6 1/2 hours (30 minutes active); makes 10 servings; per serving: 260 calories; 90 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 10 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 110 mg cholesterol; 420 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 38 g protein.

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