Pork stew isn’t nearly as popular as beef stew and it’s a shame; slowly stewed pork becomes meltingly tender and packed with flavor. In this stew, pork, hard cider, onions and potatoes come together to make a comforting fall or winter stew.
For the hard cider, pick a dry or balanced one as a sweet cider will detract from the savory stew. I’d recommend buying more than you need for the stew, and serving it with diner. Wegman’s had beautiful cipollini onions when I went shopping, so I swapped them for pearl onions. I also roasted my onions, instead of simmering them in the stew. I don’t really like the texture of boiled onions, I think they get slimy.
Pork Stew with Hard Cider, Pearl Onions and PotatoesAdapted slightly, from Bon Appétit Serves 6 I used cipollni onions instead of pearl onions, roasting them instead of boiling. I’ve included instructions for both options below. The Calvados is optional – I used it because I had it on hand. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the diced apple but Mike liked them, so I’ve marked these optional as well.
30 1-inch-diameter pearl onions (from two 10-ounce bags)
5 slices thick-cut bacon (preferably smoked), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt) or boneless country ribs, external fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch cubes
Coarse kosher salt
1 cup chopped shallots (about 4 large)
1 cup finely chopped parsnips
6 teaspoons chopped fresh sage, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Calvados (apple brandy; optional)
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 12-ounce bottle hard apple cider
1 1/2 pounds unpeeled baby red potatoes (about 2 inches in diameter), scrubbed, halved
2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
If you’re boiling the onions, cook onions in large saucepan of boiling salted water 2 minutes; transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Peel onions; set aside.
Cook bacon in heavy large pot over medium heat until lightly browned. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle pork shoulder with coarse salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high. Working in 2 batches, add pork to same pot and cook until browned, about 7 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large bowl. Reduce heat to medium; add shallots and parsnips. Cover pot and cook until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 teaspoons sage; stir 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup Calvados (if using), cook until almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add broth, cider, reserved bacon, and pork with any accumulated juices. Bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until pork is tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
If you’re roasting your onions, heat oven to 425-degrees while pork is simmering. Peel onions, toss with olive oil, and kosher salt. Roast for 20 minutes or until lightly golden and tender.
Add potatoes and pearl onions (if boiling) to stew; cover and cook until vegetables are almost tender, about 30 minutes. Add apples (if using) and onions (if roasting); cover and cook until potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Spoon fat from surface of juices, if necessary. Stir butter and flour in small bowl to form paste; add to pot and whisk to blend. Stir in mustard, 2 teaspoons sage, and 1 tablespoon Calvados, if using. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stew can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Simmer stew over medium heat to rewarm before serving.
Divide stew among bowls, sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sage, and serve.