Hey you! Yes you. Rabid pumpkin people. You can keep your pumpkin, mkay?
Cuz I’m alllllllllll about the apples.
And they have hit my local farmers market in the biggest way. YASSSSSS!
Pink ladies and Braeburn and MacIntosh and Honeycrisp and Jonagold and, and, and…
Yeah. Y’all can keep the pumpkin. Imma be over here cracking out on apples.
In fact, I have THREE – count ’em – three new apple recipes to share with you, starting with this one.
So…pork. And apples. Natural pairing, right?
But pork chops and applesauce is so…pedestrian. Don’t get me wrong. If someone made them for me, I would dig in with zero hesitation. But for the Foodie Nation, I wanted to push a bit further. See what else was out there.
Obviously, pork and apple stew is not an original idea. But, really, what recipe is? Just the same, I Googled for recipes and found a few but they all had some pretty common challenges to them:
- The SUGAR: it was off the hook. Hell, in my recipe it may still be off the hook but my sugar-sensitive self handled this stew just fine. Your mileage may vary. As always, PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!
- The COST: The base recipe I decided to fiddle with required SO many spices, it would have required all the expendible income from my paycheck and…um…no. Don’t take this the wrong way…I love you guys. But I don’t love anyone THAT much to be broke on the corner with a quarter and some pork and apple stew. 😉 (Again…keeping it all the way real with you!)
- The STEPS: The original recipe I used (linked below) just seemed to have a lot of steps. I didn’t mind frying up a few pieces of bacon (who doesn’t?) and then searing the pork, but after that I sorta just wanted to throw it all in the crockpot and let it do its thing. So that’s pretty much what I did!
So all that is to say that I finally landed on using this recipe to start, and made some modifications. A few notes:
- Yes, this recipe calls for hard apple cider. I used it. If you don’t want to use it, that’s fine! Cook your conscience, Foodies! You can replace the hard cider with the same amount of regular sparkling apple cider (bonus points if you find a low-sugar or even sugar free kind. Just know your stew will tip to the sweet side.
- If you do use hard cider, use one of the less sweet one. Here’s a good article outlining the ones with the lowest sugars.
- The original recipe calls pork shoulder. I went with a big pack of pork country ribs from ALDI. Works pretty much the same, for a fraction of the cost.
- Again, don’t fret if you don’t have allllll the spices called for in the original recipe or mine. If I had to name the most important spices, I’d say salt and pepper (of course), the Dijon mustard and sage. Everything else is negotiable. You could toss in some Italian seasoning blend if you have that. Or some Herbs de Provence if that’s your jam. Don’t feel bound by the spices. Play with your food!
- Finally, the original recipe calls for cauliflower rice. I didn’t bother. This was filling enough as it was! But if you are feeding others or just want it, go for it. If you want to add something for the family, a nice garlic couscous would go wonderfully.
And if you’re new to the site, I will tell you up-front that NOPE, I’m not giving you the nutrition information for this recipe. Here’s why and here’s how to calculate them yourself with the ingredients YOU have on hand!
|8 servings||15 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|5 hours||4 hours|
Pork and apples - they're a natural pair! Try them a new way with this comforting stew that's both savory and a tiny bit sweet, and packed with flavor.
- 3 slices bacon diced
- 2 lbs. pork country ribs cubed
- 1 medium yellow onion cut into slivers
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dried sage
- 1 tsp. garlic (I minced fresh garlic but you can also use garlic powder)
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. basil leaves finely chopped
- 1 inch rosemary sprig needles finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 4 c. broth (I used chicken but you can use pork or chicken)
- 1 c. hard cider
- 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar or dry cooking wine (I used the wine)
- 3 c. diced sweet potato or butternut squash
- 3 medium Honeycrisp apples peeled, cored and sliced
- If your crockpot has a stovetop setting, set it to medium and add bacon pieces. Fry to render the fat, then remove and save for later.
- Turn the heat up to high and add country ribs, searing the pieces on all sides. Remove.
- In a small bowl, loosely mix together all your herbs and spices. Add onions, spices and mustard to the crockpot and stir until any remaining bacon fat is incorporated. Add pork back to pot.
- Add broth, cider and sweet potatoes (or squash) and set the crockpot to cook on low for 4 hours.
- Add apple slices and allow it to cook one additional hour.
- Serve hot with some fresh, chopped sage or whole grain mustard on top, if you like!
Oh Nik, this looks and sounds divine. I am going to make this over the weekend. I have a huge pork shoulder that needs cooked. I can’t wait.