Apples aren’t just for salads and desserts. Apples are a fantastic addition to savory dishes too. They’re great with chicken and they’re just as great with pork.
In this pork and apple stew recipe, the meat is cooked not only with apples but with raisins, Balsamic vinegar and ginger. The raisins add another depth of sweetness, the Balsamic vinegar adds tartness for balance, and the ginger gives off a subtle heat that goes well with the sweet-tart combination.
You’ll need cooking apples for this dish — the kind that won’t liquefy during the hour-long cooking time. Washington apples were used here (because they were what we had); Granny Smith, Gala and Fuji apples will yield just as good results.
Pork and Apple Stew
- Rinse the pork belly and pat dry with a kitchen towel. If you don’t want to cook the pork with the skin, cut off the skin and reserve for another dish (don’t discard!).
- Cut the pork belly into slices about three-quarters to an inch thick. If the slices are too long, you may cut each into halves. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Melt the butter in a pan. Arrange the pork slices in a single layer in the pan. Over high heat, sear on both sides until nicely browned (a light crust should form on the surface of the meat).
- Add the onion slices, ginger, apple wedges and raisins. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the onion slices are slightly softened, and the apple wedges are lightly browned along the edges.
- Pour in the applesauce and balsamic vinegar.
- Add the tarragon and marjoram, and a bit more salt and pepper. Stir the contents of the pan.
- Cover the pan. Set the heat to low and slow cook the pork and apples for 45 minutes to an hour. The actual cooking time depends on the quality of the meat and the thickness of the slices. If the liquid runs dry before the pork is done, pour in water, a quarter cup at a time. Taste the sauce occasionally too and adjust the seasonings, if needed. You may need to add sugar if the apples you used are on the tart side.
- There will be very little sauce by the time is dish is cooked. And what little sauce there is should be thick. If that’s what you’re seeing, then, you cooked the dish right. It’s a stew, not a soup, after all.
- Arrange the pork slices in a serving platter. Scatter the apple wedges, onion slices and raisins on top and on the sides. Spoon whatever sauce there is over everything. You may optionally sprinkle in some chopped parsley before serving.
- The pork and apple stew is good with either rice or bread.