Pork Loin with Warm Spiced Chickpea Salad

Steaks, Chops, and Roasts

Serves 8 • Cooking Time 2 to 3 hours on Low • Slow Cooker Size 5 1/2 to 7 Quarts

Why This Recipe Works: Inspired by the lively flavors of Moroccan cuisine, we set out to create a healthy and satisfying meal featuring moist pork and a warm-spiced salad with contrasting textures, straight from the slow cooker. For maximum flavor, we decided to sear the roast and use the rendered fat to bloom the spices. A combination of coriander, cumin, and cloves created an authentic and flavorful base for our side dish. Chickpeas, with their slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture, complemented the pork perfectly with the added benefit of being high in fiber and low in calories. We nestled the seared pork on top of the chickpeas to cook gently. Once the pork was done cooking, we let it rest while we finished our warm chickpea salad. We added dried apricots, roasted red peppers, and shallots at the end and allowed them to just warm through, keeping their flavors and textures distinct to balance the spice-infused chickpeas. A splash of vinegar and a generous sprinkling of chopped mint rounded out the salad with bright freshness.

A wider, shorter pork loin roast (about 8 inches long) will fit in the slow cooker best. Check the temperature of the pork loin after 2 hours of cooking and continue to monitor until it registers 140 degrees. We found that leaving a 1/8‑inch-thick layer of fat on top of the roast is ideal; if your roast has a thicker fat cap, trim it to be about 1/8 inch thick. You will need an oval slow cooker for this recipe.

1 (3‑pound) boneless pork loin roast, fat trimmed to 1/8 inch
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 (14‑ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

1. Pat roast dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12‑inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast well on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to plate. Add garlic, coriander, cumin, and cloves to now-empty skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping up any browned bits; transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir chickpeas into slow cooker. Nestle roast fat side up into slow cooker. Cover and cook until pork registers 140 degrees, 2 to 3 hours on low.

3. Transfer roast to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 15 minutes. Stir apricots, red peppers, shallot, and vinegar into chickpea mixture and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in mint and season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice pork 1/4 inch thick and serve.

Per serving: Cal 350; Fat 11g; Sat Fat 3.5g; Chol 85mg; Carb 22g; Protein 37g; Fiber 4g; Sodium 530mg

Smart Shopping: Roasted Red Peppers

Hearty Eggs

We tasted eight brands of roasted red peppers, both straight out of the jars and in roasted red pepper soup, to find the best one. Overall, tasters preferred firmer, smokier, sweeter-­tasting peppers packed in simple brines made of salt and water. Peppers packed in brines that contained garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and grape must—characteristic of most of the European brands—rated second. Our winner? Tasters preferred the domestically produced Dunbars Sweet Roasted Peppers, which lists only red bell peppers, water, salt, and citric acid in its ingredient list.

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