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Pork roasts to help warm up for winter

Winter is here, even though the 70-plus-degree weather we have experienced lately doesn’t feel much like winter. Still, we all know the cold will return.

Nothing says “winter” more than a pork roast for dinner. Here are some delicious recipes that promise to become family favorites.

If you have ever seen a recipe for mole, you know there are quite a few ingredients. Don’t let the lengthy list put you off — once you get everything in the pot, the slow cooker does all of the work for you. Serve with corn tortillas and rice. This is also terrific the next day.

Slow cooker pork mole
1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 (15-ounce) fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 chipolte pepper, chopped
2 small cinnamon sticks
Garnishes: Sliced avocado, cilantro, lime wedges

Trim excess fat from pork roast. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If needed, cut roast into chunks to fit in slow cooker. Put onions and garlic in slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together beef broth, cumin, coriander, oregano, and pour over onions and garlic. Add diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, almonds, raisins, chocolate, chipotle pepper and cinnamon sticks, stirring to combine. Add the meat and stir together.

Cover and cook on low for eight to 10 hours, or on high for five hours. Transfer pork to a cutting board and shred the meat with two forks. Set aside. Remove cinnamon sticks and discard. Transfer tomato mixture to a food processor and puree, or use an immersion blender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Return shredded meat to tomato mixture, stirring to combine. Serve in tortillas and/or over rice, garnished with avocado, cilantro and lime wedges.

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This is a flavorful pork roast and goes well with pasta or polenta.

Italian spice-rubbed pork roast
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, crushed
3 teaspooons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4-pound) bone-in pork roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into wedges
2 pounds Brussels sprouts

In a small bowl, combine parsley, fennel, oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and garlic. Rub spice mixture all over pork.

Heat heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the spice rubbed pork roast on all sides until golden brown. Add water and white wine and bring to a boil. Roast, uncovered in a preheated 325-degree oven for 1 ½ hours. Add onions and fennel around roast and cover. Continue cooking another 45 minutes.

Trim Brussels sprouts and cut into halves and add to the pot. Cover and continue cooking another 35 to 40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add a bit more white wine and/or water if it seems dry. Remove meat to a platter and loosely cover with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon. Boil liquid and reduce a few minutes. Slice meat and spoon some of the cooking liquid on top. Serve with vegetables.

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We love barbeque, but in the winter, who wants to be outside in the cold, rainy weather? This is a foolproof way to enjoy delicious barbeque without ever setting foot outdoors or dealing with that smoker.

Slow cooker barbecue
Nonstick cooking spray
1 (4-pound) pork shoulder roast
1 cup favorite barbeque sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Spray the inside of the slow-cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place pork shoulder roast I slow cooker, cutting into large chunks if necessary to fit.

In a small bowl, combine barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and liquid smoke. Pour over the pork roast. Sprinkle on onions, garlic and thyme.

Cook on low for eight to 10 hours or on high for five to six hours. Remove pork shoulder to cutting board and loosely tent with aluminum foil for 15 minutes. Shred meat with two forks. Pour juices into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Serve shredded meat on hamburger buns and spoon some sauce on top.