Hard Cider Braised Pork with Apples and Onions ~ this slow cooked pork loin is fork tender and infused with all the flavors of Fall.
This is one of those meals that you know is going to be great right from the get go. The ingredients tell the story: a plump loin of pork, neatly tied with butcher’s string so it won’t fall apart during the long braising, a large bottle of hard cider, a couple of rosy Honey Crisp apples, an onion, and a handful of fresh thyme. You have only to brown the onions and the meat before layering everything in a slow cooker. At the end the liquid gets boiled down on the stove and reduces to a super charged sweet tart gravy. I like to serve this with roasted veggies like carrots and Brussels sprouts, and maybe some mashed potatoes or polenta to sop up the extra juices.
I’m not sure there’s a prettier sight than dinner, all settled into the slow cooker, as you pop on the lid and say so long for 6 hours. It’s a wonderful thing.
If you like you can shred the pork after it’s cooked. I like to slice mine, so I made it ahead of time and let it chill in the fridge till dinner. The longer you let it cool down, the neater your slices will be.
- 2 lb boneless pork loin
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 apples (any type will do, I used Honey Crisp)
- 1 22 oz bottle of hard cider (about 3 cups)
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, plus more leaves for garnish
- Rub the pork loin with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining oil until very hot in a large heavy bottomed pot. Brown the pork on all sides. Put the pork aside.
- Add the onions to the same pan and stir until they soften and get some color. Put the onions on the bottom of the slow cooker. Top with the pork.
- Add the cider to the hot pan and scrape up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, this will give you great flavor.
- Thinly slice the apples, no need to peel. Arrange the apples around the pork. Pour the cider into the slow cooker. Tuck in sprigs of fresh thyme and cover.
- Cook on low for 6 hours.
- Remove the pork, onions, and apples to a platter and cover loosely with foil.
- Pour the remaining liquid into a saucepan and remove the thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil and cook until the gravy is reduced by about half, and slightly thickened, (it won't be real thick.) Taste to adjust the seasonings.
- Slice or shred the pork, and serve with the gravy. Scatter fresh thyme leaves over all.