Pork and Apple Cider Stew

| March 22, 2010 | 3 Comments

I’ll confess, fresh apples don’t tempt me in the way they tempt some people. The idea of biting into a crunchy apple, be it red or golden delicious, does nothing for me. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of apples, as I am of any fruit that comes from Oregon’s bountiful orchards. I just don’t like them raw.

I prefer instead to cook with apples. The apples I yearn for are in apple pie, apple tarts, apple turnovers, and in one of my favorite applications, cooked with pork. Pork and apples make a perfect marriage. Every time I think of a roast suckling pig, a picture comes to mind of a perfectly roasted pig with a bright red apple in its mouth.

When stewed or baked with apples, the pork takes on the wonderful flavors of apples – sweet, but somewhere lurking in the background is that familiar tart flavor that’s a pleasant surprise.

When it’s my turn to cook dinner and it’s chilly outside, my mind inevitably turns to stew-like dishes that can be prepared in one pot and slow-cooked for hours. This weekend, with my turn coming up at the stove, I craved a hassle-free dish that I could toss in the oven and forget for a couple of hours. There were bottles of apple cider in the refrigerator, and a few golden delicious apples in the kitchen fruit basket. And so my mind went to work on dinner: boneless picnic-style pork rib stew with apple cider, apples, carrots, celery and parsnips.

Pork and Apple Cider Stew

I think parsnips are an underappreciated vegetable. The first time Charles served them I had trouble guessing what it was. But I loved its buttery sweet flavor. At first, I thought it was an albino carrot or something. “Nope, they’re parsnips,” Charles replied. And since then, we love finding ways to incorporate parsnips into our meals. Charles has roasted them, boiled them and mashed them with potatoes, and whenever he makes a pot roast, I start pining away for parsnips to be included. This time I needed not pine as I was playing chef for dinner.

Pork and Apple Cider Stew

  1. 2 lbs (910 gr.) boneless picnic-style pork ribs (or any other cut of pork with marbled fat suitable for stewing)
  2. 2 12-ounce (355 ml.) bottles of apple cider
  3. 3 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
  4. 1 sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
  5. 4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
  6. 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  7. 3 bay leaves
  8. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) ground sage
  9. 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  10. 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  11. 4-5 mushrooms, quartered
  12. 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch (2.5-cm.) pieces
  13. 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced into 1-inch (2.5-cm.) pieces
  14. 4 tablespoons (60 ml.) safflower oil
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C).
  • In a dutch oven, heat oil over a high flame, add pork, turning the pieces periodically until they’re golden brown on all sides, then remove the pork and set aside.
  • Add onions and garlic to the dutch oven, stirring until the onions are translucent.
  • Add apples and mushrooms, stirring until they’re slightly cooked.
  • Put the pork back into the dutch oven, moving the vegetables to make sure the pork is at the bottom of the pot.
  • Pour in the 2 bottles of apple cider.
  • Add rosemary, thyme and ground sage, a little salt and ground pepper.
  • Cover the dutch oven and put the pot in the oven for one and a half hours.
  • Remove the pot and add the chopped celery, carrots and parsnips, cover pot and put back into the oven another hour.
  • When ready to serve, garnish with some Italian parsley.

PS. This dish would go great with some egg noodles or steamed white rice. Just ladle the remaining pot juices over the noodles or rice. YUMMY!


— Vic

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Category: Meat, Pork, Stew

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

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