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Substitute ingredients put new twist on old favorites

Lately, I’ve heard funny stories about people wanting to make recipes but not having all the ingredients. Of course, they’re joking about recipes needing a single feather from a dodo bird or the broom of the Wicked Witch.

Now that we can’t easily dash to the store if we’re missing an ingredient, the best thing we can do is learn to make substitutions. I’m using this opportunity to illustrate that we can make this glazed pork recipe without having all the actual ingredients. The substitutions are below. Will it be like the original? No. Will we feel rock stars for making it work? Yes.

Please note, when you make substitutions in a recipe, you’re making a variation and it may not taste exactly as the original recipe would. But what you’re doing is creating your own original recipe. You may like your new version even better and that’s wonderful.

The recipe I’m sharing today has been around forever. It’s melt-in-your-mouth juicy pork, enrobed in a sweet and tangy glaze. It’s all about the glaze. You could put this glaze on a flip-flop and I would eat it.


What you’ll need:

4 pounds pork sirloin roast

2 teaspoons ground sage

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup water

1 cup dark brown sugar

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Here’s how:

Season the pork roast on both sides with sage, salt and pepper. Place pork, fat cap side up, in the slow cooker and sprinkle the garlic evenly over the top. Carefully add water into the slow cooker so you don’t wash off the seasoning. Cook on high for four to six hours, or until it shreds easily with a fork.

Carefully pull the roast from the slow cooker and place it on an aluminum lined sheet pan; let it rest.

While the roast is resting, in a small saucepan mix the ingredients for the glaze: brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water and soy sauce. Heat over medium, stirring until mixture thickens, about four minutes.

Heat your oven broiler. Pour about half the glaze into a gravy boat and set aside. Brush about half of the remaining glaze onto the pork and set under broiler for one to two minutes, until bubbly and caramelized. Repeat two or three more times until desired crust is achieved.

Shred or slice pork against the grain into individual portions. Serve with reserved glaze on the side.


Pork loin: Boneless pork butt or pork shoulder (cook on high for four to six hours); pork tenderloin (cook on low for four hours or to 145 F); boneless skinless chicken thighs (cook for on high for three hours); or chicken breast (cook on low for four to six hours).

Kosher salt: Use half the quantity of table salt.

Ground sage: Fresh sage (double the quantity), poultry seasoning, thyme, marjoram, savory or rosemary (use half the quantity).

Garlic: Garlic powder or onion powder (1 teaspoon), minced dried garlic or a larger quantity of a milder allium, like green onion, scallion or shallot.

Brown sugar: White sugar, honey, maple syrup or molasses.

Balsamic vinegar: Red wine vinegar, cider vinegar or sherry vinegar. Add ½ teaspoon brown sugar (or white sugar or honey) for each tablespoon of vinegar.

Soy sauce: Miso, liquid aminos or tamari.

Cornstarch: Arrowroot or tapioca powder. You can use flour to thicken sauces, but you’ll need to use three times the amount and cook for a longer time.

Slow cooker: Bake covered in the oven at 200 F for low and 300 F for high, the same amount of time.

Lifestyle expert Patti Diamond is a recipe developer and food writer of the website “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” Visit Patti at www.divasonadime.com and join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom. Email Patti at divapatti@divasonadime.com.

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