Way back in early November, Melanie of Melanie In The Middle hosted a giveaway of a Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System - a crockpot meets stovetop meets oven. It looked pretty nifty and 318 of us entered to win.
In mid-December I received a text message from Melanie via Twitter letting me know I had won! Just before New Year’s Eve the Ninja arrived. With Chuck getting sick at Christmas and then relapsing and our trying to make up for lost holidays it took me ages to try it out. But I finally did and I really liked it!
I’ve had the same crockpot for more than 30 years. Yes, electricity had been invented back then! It still works fine; has two “speeds”: low and high and is the tall round kind. But the new oval Ninja has a “Stovetop” feature which means I can sear meat and then add all the ingredients and let it simmer away.
So that’s what I did. I bought a boneless pork loin roast at Trader Joe’s, seasoned it, set the Ninja to Stovetop High and browned the pork. It sizzled nicely. Then I added the onions, apples, garlic - well, this recipe. I put the cover on and set it to do its traditional crockpot-thing.
I had read on-line that the little steam hole in the lid sometimes allowed too much liquid to evaporate. I really wanted to walk away and forget it so I decided to cover the hole. I took a Post-It note and carefully pressed the sticky strip over the hole. It stayed in place the whole time and left no mark when I removed it.
After a few hours I peeked inside and found everything was looking good and smelling just right. Because of the oval shape of the Ninja I changed plans and instead of making mashed potatoes, I dropped the cut up potatoes into the Ninja all around the roast. As they cooked they absorbed lots of flavor. At the end, I did remove the liquid to a small saucepan to thicken it, this time with a quick roux.
I thought about serving the roast with wine or ale. Then I remembered we had some Woodchuck hard cider. We opened the “Winter” which was excellent with the meal. Actually, it would be delicious with anything and all on its own.
Oh, I almost forgot - clean up. It was easy-peasy! My classic crockpot is crockery and very heavy and always required soaking to get the rim clean. Not so the metal Ninja with its non-stick surface.
The final result? Chuck loved it and so did I! Chuck also wanted me to send his best regards and thanks to Miss Melanie. I echo that as well.
Now - if Charlie Sheen hasn’t ruined it forever - that’s what I call “Winning”!