Pork, sweet potatoes, carrots, onion, sliced green apple, and apple cider; sounds like the perfect fall stew, no?
Add in the fact that it can be made in your slow cooker, and it begins to sound even better, yes?
But then, what if I took a very good stew to the next level, separated the meat and veggies from the liquid, let them rest in the fridge overnight, skimmed the (surprisingly little) fat, and put it back together?
Very nice stew! And the addition, at the last minute, to the top of the stew bowl of good chopped dill relish? Practically perfect in every way! Check it out…
First Pass (Slow Cooker):
•2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
•3 small carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
•1 cup chopped onion
•2 cloves garlic, sliced
•1 boneless pork roast – about 2 lb
•1 green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
•1/4 cup flour
•1/2 tsp sea salt
•1/2 tsp sage
•1/2 tsp thyme
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp Gateway to the North Maple Garlic Seasoning – or your favorite steak seasoning
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your favorite hot sauce
•1 cup apple cider
Next Day Additions (Stove Top):
•2 tbsp butter
•2 tbsp flour
•Milk (~2 tbsp)
•2 tbsp port wine or sherry
•1 bay leaf
•1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
•1 cup water
Place the pork and the veggies in a large slow cooker.
Whisk the flour together with the seasonings to blend, then stir in the apple cider.
Pour over the pork and veggies in the slow cooker, give it a stir to mix well, then cover and cook on low for about seven hours.
Important Note: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, many newer slow cookers seem to cook faster (a lot faster) than recipes call for; my stew was well and truly done, veggies nicely cooked, pork beautifully tender, and a little under four hours. Go by your own experience with your own slow cooker, and base your cooking times accordingly.
The stew is quite tasty, and more than ready to served now, but…
we really prefer our stews, soups, and casseroles the next day, after the flavors have had time to blend and any excess fat settled and skimmed off; so I strained out the meat and veggies from the liquid and stashed ’em separately in covered containers in the fridge.
The next day, about an hour before dinnertime, I melted the butter in a large pan (my tagine worked a treat) over medium high heat, then added the flour, stirring until it was blended with the butter and the roux a lovely golden brown.
Whisk in the milk, one or two tablespoons, just to thin the roux a bit and remove any possible lumps.
Skim the fat off the stew liquid – I was surprised there was so little from the pork roast I’d used – and add to the milky roux over low heat, using a whisk to blend it all well.
Add the black pepper to taste, port wine or sherry, bay leaf, and Worcestershire sauce and heat until just bubbling.
Give it a taste and add additional seasoning(s) if you think it needs it.
Mine was good, but just a little on the thick side, so I whisked in a cup of water until blended, then added the meat and veggies, which I’d allowed to come up to room temperature on the counter.
Cook, stirring often, until the meat and veggies are nicely hot, then stir in the chopped parsley and serve.
We had ours with some of that cast iron corn bread and, it was good, but, I thought it was missing a little sumpin’ sumpin’.
About to enjoy a bowl for lunch the next day, it hit me: pickles!
Chunky, deli-style dill relish.
A tablespoon or so across the top of my stew bowl and I was more than a happy camper.
Try the stew, with or without the roux and the second cooking, but do think about adding fresh chopped parsley and that dill relish at the end.