I’ve got a new plan for lazy Sundays: make up a batch of something delicious that doesn’t need a lot of hands-on time, but sits and simmers in the oven doing its thing and getting delicious.
My recent favourite? This pork stew. I’ve been making it since last fall, starting with a recipe from BBC Good Food. Krish, our friend Nicole, and I rang in the new year with big bowls of it, accompanied by mulled apple cider. And now it’s on our meal rotation at least once a month.
My favourite boozy drink for the summer is cider — it’s naturally gluten-free and super delicious. But so many ciders out there are super sweet. I have found my love: Batch 1904 made right here in Toronto by Brickworks Ciderhouse. The ingredients? 100% Ontario apples. No preservatives, no glucose syrup, no additional flavours. Just apples. And it’s the best — tart and dry. Not too sweet, but tastes like apples. Not only do I love it for drinking, but I’ve started using it in my cooking.
In this pork stew, the alcoholic dry cider brings a bit of an apple flavour, without too much sweetness. If you want to do a non-alcoholic version, you can use fresh apple cider — as it’s usually sweeter than boozy apple cider, you’ll get a sweeter finished stew. Also delicious.
And if you want to take this stew to the next level? Well… you know how Portlandia wants you to “put a bird on it“? Well, I recommend you “put an egg on it”. Everything in my house eventually gets topped with a poached egg: a bed of sautéed kale & shallots, a steaming bowl of creamy goat cheese polenta, and definitely apple cider & pork stew.
Gluten-Free Apple Cider & Pork Stew
A hearty bowl of stew, with pork shoulder, veggies, and apple cider. Totally warming and satisfying. Inspired by BBC Good Food’s Slow-braised pork shoulder with cider & parsnips, Serves 8.
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil (divided into 2 + 2 Tablespoons)
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
- 3 potatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 lbs (1.36kg) pork shoulder, cubed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 stalk fresh rosemary
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot starch
- 1 can (330 ml) cider (I love Batch 104 from Brickworks Ciderhouse)
- 3 cups (750 ml) chicken stock
- sea salt & black pepper, to serve
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large roasting dish, toss the shallots, celery, carrots, and potatoes with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil and the sea salt. Roast (uncovered) at 350F until the veggies start to brown (about 15-20 minutes).
While the vegetables are roasting, brown the meat: heat the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Brown the meat in batches, then set aside.
Sprinkle the arrowroot starch over the roasted vegetables, add the pork, bay leaf, and rosemary stalk, and stir to combine. Pour the cider and chicken stock over the vegetables & pork.
Cover the dish with a lid (or aluminum foil), and bake at 350F for 2 hours.
Before eating, remove the bay leaves and the stalk of rosemary. Then serve warm, with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. If you want to go wild, add a poached egg!