One summer we were touring wine country on Vancouver Island visiting wineries, farms and cheese makers. One of our favourite places was Merridale Cider. They were one of the first to begin making English style apple cider. We tasted and tasted some more, then bought their Traditional style, Somerset & Scrumpy. When we got home we drank some but set some aside because I decided to make a stew with cider when fall arrived and I could use locally grown apples. We decided that it worked out very well!
Makes Approximately 6 Servings
2 1/2 to 3 lbs. well-trimmed pork butt, cut into 1 ½” cubes, I really like Gelderman’s pork products
½ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped or 1 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. fresh sage, chopped or 1 tsp. dried sage
1 large apple, such as Braeburn or Bramley Seedling, peeled, cored & cut into ½” cubes
2 carrots, peeled, cut into ¼” dice
2 large slices bacon, chopped(preferably an English Gammon style bacon)
1 bay leaf
4-6 juniper berries, pressed with the back of a knife
2 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
2/3 cup Scrumpy or other dry English style cider
1 cup homemade chicken stock or purchased low salt/no salt chicken broth
1 or 2 tsp. cider vinegar
Garnish: 2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add a few tablespoons of canola oil to the pan & heat. Place the flour, salt & pepper in a plastic or paper bag; shake to combine. Add a few cubes of pork at a time to the bag; shake until coated then place into the pan with the hot oil, without crowding. Brown on all sides & remove to a plate. Continue in the same manner with the remaining pork cubes.
Add the bacon to the pan and fry until browned, but not crisp. Add the onions; sauté until softened; add the carrots, apples & garlic; sauté for a couple of minutes. Return the pork cubes to the pan. Add the herbs, bay leaf, juniper berries & half the parsley. Stir to combine. Add the cider, chicken stock & cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to simmer and braise for approximately 1 ½ – 2 hours until pork is tender.
Note: I have used chunks of peeled, cored quince that have been sautéed after the pork is browned, once the quince is lightly coloured, remove and set aside until the last 30 minutes or so of braising time. I have substituted fresh rosemary for the thyme & sage.
If you would like to make your own stock, click Making Stock.
If you would like to find an excellent source for pork in Vancouver, click My Source List. for Gelderman’s Pork & for English Style Gammon Bacon at Oyama or check your nearest butcher shop.
Juniper Berries are available at Dussa’s on Granville Island or Galloway’s in New Westminster.