Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos
I am now epically, exhaustingly, and grammatically acquainted with the term, “fall.” It’s in the crispness of the air, the flavor of these Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos, and it’s really really in the 140 bags of leaves that Ben and I raked this weekend.
When we bought Ben’s childhood home from his parents, I vaguely recall a bit of commentary about the leaves. A few neighbors advised me to, “get ready.” Ben’s mom (who, God bless her, came over to help us rake all day Sunday, along with Ben’s dad) gifted me a pair of gardening gloves. I grew up raking leaves with my dad watching my dad rake leaves, then jumping into them, and it seemed like a romantic outdoor activity, at least to my eight-year-old self.
Let me tell you, shredding the equivalent of 140 bags of leaves, stuffing those leaves into yard bags, then cramming them into your garage because the dump isn’t open until Tuesday is not romantic. I imagine the dumping process (which involves two trips and a borrowed SUV) won’t be especially romantic either. The semi-disheartening/totally insane part? Not even a quarter of our leaves have fallen. We have to do this again! And again! Then one or six more times! I’m going to have some serious calluses character by the time fall ends.
I will also be eating serious amounts of Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos. Hours of raking gives a girl an appetite. Fortunately, I can envision no happier end to a long day than exactly how I finished mine: an enormous plate of Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos and an ice cold cerveza. Say it with me now, “ahhhh.”
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos are my favorite kind of slow cooker recipe: dump, ignore, eat. No browning of the meat or reducing of the sauce required here. These slow cooker tacos are also rocking my new favorite southwest flavor combination: citrus and chipotle.
Orange juice keeps the meat moist and adds brightness, and the smoky chipotle chilis are the perfect contrast to the sweet butternut squash. I also added a splash of Pompeian Jalapeño-Infused Red Wine Vinegar for an extra kick. Nestle the vibrant filling inside a warm corn tortilla, sprinkle with cilantro and feta, and you’re all set to fall in love, taco-style.
A few quick ingredient notes: for the pork, I used a pork loin roast, which I find is the leanest cut that can hold up to slow-cooking without becoming tough and dry. For the cheese, I imagine that queso fresco would be equally delectable as feta (perhaps even more so)—I simply couldn’t find it within a 10-mile radius of my house.
So, any friends looking to take a little field trip to the dump? SUV preferred, and Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos offered in exchange!
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos
Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 40 minutes
For the Pork and Butternut Squash
- 3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 canned chipotle chilis packed in adobo, coarsely chopped* (add more for more heat)
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chilis
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons Pompeian Jalapeño Red Wine Vinegar (or substitute regular red wine vinegar or additional orange juice)
- Corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and feta cheese or queso fresco
- Arrange the squash around the edges of a 4-quart or similar slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Season the pork with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cinnamon, olive oil, chipotle chilis, and adobo sauce to form a paste. Rub all over the pork. Place the pork in the center of the slow cooker (it may overlap slightly with the squash). Top with the onion and garlic. Pour the orange juice and red wine vinegar over the top.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours (the actual cook time may vary based on your slow cooker). Once the meat is tender and cooked through, remove from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Shred the pork, then transfer to a large bowl, along with any of the rub that may have come off during shredding. With a slotted spoon, remove the squash and onions from the slow cooker and place in the bowl with the pork. Toss to combine.
- To serve: warm the tortillas in the microwave (I like to cover mine with a lightly damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out. Fill, then garnish with cilantro, fresh lime juice, and cheese.
More stellar slow cooker meals:
- Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Caprese
- Slow Cooker Thai Chicken
- Slow Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Honey Pulled Pork
I am sharing this post as a member of the Pompeian #PantryInsiders program.