Cider Pork Stew

Sweet apple cider mingles with succulent pork, herbs, and veggies in a comforting seasonal stew for a crisp autumn night.

Flourish separator

When we go apple picking in the fall, we always pick up a jug of good cider.  I love to have it on hand for sipping (on a Friday night I'll mix it with a splash of white wine or even something stronger), stirring into pancake and quick bread batter, or adding to other seasonal sweets.  But my favorite way to use it is in savory dishes like this Cider Pork Stew.  The recipe is adapted from Rachael Ray, and she also has another killer cider recipe that uses beef.  She's from the Adirondacks, so it's not surprising that the lady knows what to do with this stuff.  

The cider adds a sweet, autumnal quality to this brothy, herb-flecked gravy, and the soft bites of pork take on extra flavor from a bit of browning in the beginning--don't skip this step!  If it's a crazy day, I'll prepare this recipe up until the point where you add the potatoes and then transfer it to the slow cooker to finish on its own time while I'm busy with our relentless fall schedule.  It's forgiving, as the longer it simmers, the better it gets.  Dip your spoon into a brimming bowl of this homey stew while those papery leaves flutter to the ground outside your window.  Don't forget your flannel shirt and cozy socks.  

Cider Pork Stew

2 tbsp olive oil

2 lbs boneless pork chops or loin, cut into cubes

2 tbsp flour

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tbsp butter

1 onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups apple cider

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp dried parsley

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried sage

1 bay leaf

3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 cup frozen green beans

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Toss the cubed pork in the flour, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Brown the pork in two batches, leaving it undisturbed for a few minutes so that you achieve a nice golden crust.  Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside.  

Add butter to the drippings in the pot, then add the onion, celery, and carrots.  Cook 2-3 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften, then add the apple cider vinegar and apple cider.  Scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze, then add the broth and herbs.  Slide the pork back into the pot and simmer for about an hour.  

Add the potatoes, and let the stew simmer for another 45 minutes or so until the potatoes are almost done, then stir in the green beans.  Simmer another few minutes, then remove the bay leaf, adjust seasoning, and serve.  

I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

- Lucy Maud Montgomery

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