Thursday, November 11, 2010

an old favourite: cider stew.

As Jeremy and I have 'smart' phones now (I put that in quotes because I'm not entirely convinced by the concept, especially now that I have one and it seems downright stupid A LOT), ahem, now that we have these seemingly intelligent cellular devices I have been able to take and easily post photos to my facebook, which means I have been taking many photos of food I have been making. The most recent of these is the Cider Stew I made the other day. (Sam, the Scottish Stew is coming, I just want to make it again so I can take some proper photos, never fear.) This recipe is one that I have loved for many, many years as my mother used to make it for us on crisp autumn days when the weather is just right for a sweater and thick socks and on icy winter nights when the frost on the windows creeps up the panes like it's dying to get in and share in the memories being made. Not to be confused with 'Spider Stew,' which is what a friend of my mum's thought she was being served when she first heard the name. Gross! My mum sent me this recipe a year or so again at my request when the weather began to cool and the leaves began their yearly performance, and it's been a cold weather staple with Jeremy and I since then. I made a few tweaks to her original recipe to make it my own and that is what I am giving you tonight.

Cider Stew
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds pork loin steaks, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 carrots, chopped
6-8 baby new potatoes, chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 package mushrooms, quartered
2 Granny Smith apples, chunked (do not peel)
1/2 cup cold water and
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper

Note: I usually go more by feeling than by exact measurements, just do what feels right, and what your crock pot has room for.


Directions:
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme and toss with meat to coat. Brown in skillet with oil on medium-high until sides are brown, but not cooked through. Place chopped veggies in slow cooker, then add apples and meat (I usually add whatever juices have culminated in the skillet as well). Combine cider and vinegar; do not add water, and pour over meat and veggies. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours. After allotted time, turn cooker on high. Blend the half cup cold water with the fourth cup flour and stir into stew. Cover and cook until thickened, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes eight to ten servings.

Notes: If you're reading this from the UK, by cider I don't mean alcoholic cider, but really strong, yummy, cloudy apple 'juice'. I used Copella English apple juice this time and the flavour was really nice.

Also, if you're wondering what sort of mushrooms to use I've used two different types, normal button mushrooms which are always nice, and this time I used chestnut mushrooms which have a nuttier flavour which complements the cider.

My mother usually used just normal vinegar in her recipe where I used apple cider vinegar, I don't think it really makes that much of a difference so if you just have regular vinegar that should be fine. I'm just an apple maniac and used anything apple whenever I can.


Now go enjoy your delicious, slow-cooked, autumnal stew and if you make it, come back and let me know how it turned out. We enjoyed ours with a buttered slice of oatmeal bread and a glass of apple cider (yes, the real stuff, you British folk), but white wine would probably be nice as well. Slàinte mhath! 

Caitlin

1 comment:

Sam said...

thanks for the recipe! :)