Fall is apple season here in Northeastern Ohio, and apple season brings apple cider. I grew up drinking regular apple cider, so hard cider was a revelation. My favorite is Normandy style, from Northern France, bone-dry and sparkling. Unfortunately, even with the explosion of hard ciders at the grocery store, a true, dry cider is hard to find. 1
Normandy cider led me to Normandy pork, their long-simmered stew with pork, cider, and onions. (Normandy cider also led me to Calvados, their apple brandy…but that’s another story.)
Now, which cider should you use for cooking? My preference is for a dry cider – look for something with Dry, Crisp, or Brut in the name. That said, whatever hard cider you find will probably work. We need a little alcohol for complexity, and apple flavor for depth. I also try to get a straight apple cider – mixing in honey, maple, pear, or ginger is good for drinking, but I worry it will mess with the flavors of the recipe. If you can find a bottle of Normandy cider – it’s probably in the wine section – that is traditional for this recipe. 2
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Pork and Cider Stew
Video: Pressure Cooker Pork and Cider Stew – Time Lapse [YouTube.com]
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot Electric PC)
- Collapsible steamer basket (Cheap and available almost everywhere.)
Pressure Cooker Pork and Cider Stew recipe. A taste of fall from the pressure cooker, warm and filling, with a hint of apples.
- 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 16 ounce bag of frozen pearl onions (or 1 large onion, diced)
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 12 ounces hard cider (Or, substitute non-alcoholic cider.)
- 1 sprig fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch lengths (or use baby carrots)
- 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, scrubbed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parsley, minced, for garnish
- Brown the pork: Sprinkle the pork with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the pork in the pan, browning in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pressure cooker – don’t crowd the pot, or the pork will steam, not brown. Brown the pork well on one side, about 3 minutes per batch, then remove the pork to a bowl with tongs or a slotted spoon, leaving as much fat behind as possible.
- Saute the aromatics: Add the onions and apple to the pot, stir to coat with oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Saute, scraping the browned bits of pork from the bottom of the pan, until the onions soften, about 8 minutes. Pour the cider into the pot, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute.
- Pressure cook the pork: Pour the pork and any juices in the bowl into the pressure cooker pot and stir to coat with cider and onions. Toss the sage and thyme sprigs into the pot. Rest a steamer basket on top of everything in the pot and put the potatoes and carrots in the steamer basket. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and pressure cook at high pressure for 24 minutes in an electric PC, or 20 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 more minutes.
- Serve: Carefully lift the steamer basket of potatoes and carrots out of the pot. Fish out the sage and thyme sprigs and discard. Let the potatoes cool for a minute, then cut each potato in half. Stir the carrots and potatoes back into the stew. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper to the stew if necessary. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.
- Serving Size: 1 bowl of pork stew
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