You can’t just eat good food. You’ve got to talk about it too. And you’ve got to talk about it to somebody who understands that kind of food.
–Kurt Vonnegut, Jailbird
I just feel compelled to talk about food. Thus, I write a food blog. I simply must talk about pork and apples simmered slowly with fresh sage, stone-ground mustard, apple cider vinegar, and stock. Pork and apples must be one of those “perfect pairings” like chocolate and red wine, beef and mushrooms, figs and bleu cheese, fish and citrus… Do you have a perfect pairing?
I recently purchased a 4 quart slow cooker, having found my 8 quart slow cooker way over-sized for two. I broke in my new tiny slow cooker with my Slow Cooker Pork and Apples, and it was falling-apart-tender-and-delicious! Blame my love of literature for my occasionally cryptic quotes, and the quite pithy epigram above. If you love good food, pull that slow cooker down off the top shelf of your pantry closet, and put it to work. I buy most of my proteins at the local Sam’s Club, including pork loin. Their meats are fresh, of good quality, and well-priced. My husband cuts the loin into about 4 pieces, – about 1 1/2 pounds each – and we vacuum seal them, and place in the freezer until needed. 1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) is a generous serving for 4, or an adequate serving for 6. I will leave that decision up to you. At Andersen casa, we allow 4-6 ounces of protein per serving, depending on where we’re at with our macro nutrients for the day.
In addition to the pork loin, you’ll need crisp, tart apples (like Granny Smith), good quality stone ground mustard (like Inglehoffer), apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar), good broth or stock (homemade is always best!), red onion, garlic, bay, and sage (I love fresh but dried will do). On this particular night, I served the Slow Cooker Pork and Apples with wild and brown rice pilaf and a spinach and bleu cheese salad, but its great with roasted potatoes, barley, bulgur, etc. You just need a delicious side dish to soak up the sauce, and a healthy green vegetable or salad to complete the meal. We love this with a dark ale…
Pork and Apples... A perfect pairing! Combine in a slow cooker with stone ground mustard and sage for a flavorful and tender main dish.
15 minPrep Time
8 hrCook Time
8 hr, 15 Total Time
- 1 1/2 lbs. lean pork loin
- olive oil
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed (half inch dice or so)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. good apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. stone ground mustard
- 1 cup broth/stock
- 1 tsp. garlic, minced
- 2 tsp dried sage or 1 tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped*
- 2 bay leaves*
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1-2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. flour
Rub pork loin with a drizzle of olive oil, and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Bring a saute pan to high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. If you add a sizzling hot food to a cold slow cooker, you risk crack it. I've had this experience! When pork is cooler, add to slow cooker.
Add cubed apples and chopped onion to the slow cooker.
In a small mixing bowl, combine apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard, broth/stock, garlic, sage, several grinds of pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt +/-.** Whisk thoroughly. Pour over the pork and apples. Drop bay leaves into the liquid.
Cook on low 8-10 hours, or high 4-6 hours.
Just prior to serving, remove pork from the slow cooker. Don't worry if it's falling apart and you leave some behind.
Brown flour in olive oil in a small saute pan. You'll need enough olive oil to make a paste, but if watching fat and calories, don't use more than you need to. Using a ladle, add liquid from the slow cooker to the flour mixture a little at a time until you have a thick gravy. Scoop the gravy into the slow cooker, and stir gently to combine and thicken the sauce.
Add the pork back into the slow cooker. Stir gently to combine. Set dial to "warm" until ready to serve.***
* I love fresh herbs, and use them whenever possible - either from my garden or the market. If you are using dried, you will want to use about 25% of the amount used fresh.
** Seasoning is subjective. My husband watches sodium intake, so I typically go easy on salt. Always taste for seasoning prior to serving.
*** As I mentioned in the post, I have served this with many different sides including barley pilaf, brown rice, and roasted potatoes. Start your side dishes, and make your sauce (last step) just before they're finished.